Arizona Business Owners Wanting New Regulations For Utah's Air
A few of Utah’s neighbors are cracking down on the state’s polluted air that’s seeping into their backyards.
Last week, a group of Arizona outdoor recreational business owners sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency that said Utah’s coal-power plants are causing air pollution in their state. The coalition said the Rocky Mountain Power plants in Hunter and Huntington are causing coal haze that is disrupting their $11 billion-a-year recreational economy.
Utah has two proposals being considered in regards to air quality. One is known as the “business as usual” proposal, coming from the state. It would maintain current limits allowing the power plants in Hunter and Huntington to continue operation at its 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 letter from the Arizona coalition comes a month after a similar group of Coloradoan business owners weighed in on the EPA’s public comment period regarding which of the two air pollution regulation proposals it should adopt.
Shannon Flowers is the owner of Supai Adventure Gear, a company that manufactures light-weight boats for camping and backpacking. She is one of the members of the Arizona coalition.
“Any overt coal pollution is a detriment to the outdoor industry and just the health of the planet in general,” she said. "Our business thrives on people being able to enjoy the outdoors.”
"If the air is polluted and its hazy, and people have health problems, it makes them not purchase our products and therefore has an adverse effect on our ability to run our company," she said.
Kim Miller is the CEO of SCARPA North America, which is an outdoor recreational company based out of Colorado. He signed the Colorado letter.
“You can’t contain air pollution,” he said. “Whether it is Utah or southern China, I don’t think it's really right for anyone to try to do that and because now you’re not polluting your own world, you’re polluting someone else's world.”
I just hope that together with other outdoor communities we can help reduce these pollutants in our air.
Dave Eskelsen, company spokesman for Rocky Mountain Power, said they’ve been pouring money into making the Huntington and Hunter coal power plants more efficient.
“The company has made substantial progress since 2007 in reducing emissions for its Utah plants,” he said. “They meet the standard for regional haze rule for visibility.”
The EPA said it will evaluate the comments and expect to make a final decision by June 1.