Utah Legislature
5:19 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Air Pollution on Lawmakers' Minds Inside the Capitol

Air pollution was hanging around Salt Lake City today and was on the minds of many legislators on the opening day of the Utah Legislative General Session.
Credit April Ashland

Two days ago the Capitol steps were full of protesters demanding that the legislature do something to clean up Utah’s air. Today the commotion was inside the chambers as the general legislature session opened. When asked what they’re hearing from constituents, majority and minority leaders in both the house and the senate said "air quality".

"We appreciate the federal government putting guidelines on us but in Utah we’ve talked about the fact that we ought to govern ourselves. We ought to put our own guidelines on it. And in particular areas of Utah maybe we need more strict guidelines than the EPA might provide," House Majority Leader Brad Dee told UPR.

House Minority Leader Rebecca Chavez-Houck mentioned a bill that would have Utah adopt a cleaner burning fuel called Tier III, a measure that Governor Herbert also supports. 

"There’s this amazing map that I’m hoping will be distributed widely during the session that shows if we implemented those Tier III standards ahead of where EPA would require them our state would be most directly impacted out of any place else in the country. It’s where you would see the greatest improvement in emissions and air quality," said Chavez-Houck.

With more than 15 bills touching the subject up for debate, it’s hard to know which ones will survive the legislative process, but both parties seem to agree that air pollution policy should come from the state and should not be limited to the EPA and the Clean Air Act.