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Colorado Business Owners Weigh In On Utah's Air Quality

Sierra Club
Rocky Mountain coal power plant in Huntington, Utah.

They say good fences make good neighbors, but the Rocky Mountains aren’t high enough to keep Utah’s poor air quality out of Colorado’s outdoor tourism industry. Utah’s Coloradoan neighbors weighed in on the Environmental Protection Agency’s public comment period that ended Monday night regarding which of the the two air pollution regulation proposals it should adopt.

The Utah state’s proposal, also known as the “business as usual” proposal, would maintain current limits allowing the Rocky Mountain Power’s Hunter and Huntington coal power plants to continue to operate at their current levels. The other proposal, called the “Clean Parks Plan” or the federal plan, would require stricterair pollution regulations for those same power plants.

The EPA received tens of thousands of comments about the proposals, including a letter that was signed by over 100 Colorado business owners. Executive Director of Protect Our Winters, Chris Steinkamp, said many of those business owners are part of Colorado’s $13 billion outdoor recreation economy.

“These businesses depend on clean air, so that’s why we involve them in this campaign because they are a big, big voice from a passionate perspective, but also an economic perspective,” he said.

Kim Miller is a CEO of SCARPA North America, which is an outdoor recreational company based out of Colorado.

“You can’t contain air pollution,” he said. “So whether it is Utah or you’re talking about southern China or anywhere else, I don't think it's right for anyone to do that. And now you’re not polluting your own world, you’re polluting someone else's.”

David Eskelsen, said the company already invested $500 million between 2007 and 2014 to reduce emissions at the Huntington and Hunter plants.

“Those who oppose the state’s regional plan are rejecting the science behind it and the progress that’s already been made,” he said.

The EPA said they evaluate the comments and expect to make a final decision by June 1.