Green Guide

Lee, Chaffetz seek to stop EPA plan to cut haze near parks

Posted March 15

— Two members of Utah's congressional delegation want to fast-track repeal of an air quality plan aimed at reducing haze from coal-powered plants at eastern Utah national parks.

Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Jason Chaffetz introduced a resolution of disapproval Tuesday calling for the repeal of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regional haze rule requiring two coal-powered plants to install more pollution controls to cut emissions.

The two Republicans say the EPA plan is costly and ineffective, and the agency overstepped its authority.

Rocky Mountain Power and the state sued the EPA in September to stop the regional haze plan, saying utility customers would bear the $700 million cost of making the changes and a state plan was already improving conditions.

The utility company sought a stay of the EPA decision with the case pending. The court has not ruled on the request, pending a response from the new EPA administration.

The Regional Haze Rule is part of the federal Clean Air Act. It calls for states to develop plans for reducing emissions from sources near national parks and wilderness areas, with a goal of restoring "natural" air conditions by the year 2064. The EPA determines whether state plans are acceptable.

Environmental advocates say the plan is needed to cut nitrogen oxide emissions.

Lee said Utah has proposed its own "safe and effective nitrogen oxide regulation regime," the Deseret News (http://bit.ly/2nso1Rh) reported.

Chaffetz issued a statement calling the EPA rule "a problematic federal plan that imposes an estimated $700 million price tag, but achieves no visible improvement."

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality submitted its regional haze plan to the EPA, but one portion was rejected before the EPA implemented its own plan.

Clean air advocates say power plants produce about 40 percent of Utah nitrogen oxide emissions. They want the state and Rocky Mountain Power parent company PacifiCorp to reduce emissions from the Hunter and Huntington plants.

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