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EPA approves Utah’s regional haze plan

Approval of state plan for power plant emissions based on evaluation of air quality benefits, public comment process

10/28/2020
Contact Information: 
Richard Mylott (mylott.richard@epa.gov)
303-312-6654

SALT LAKE CITY -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the approval of the State of Utah’s regional haze plan to reduce emissions from PacifiCorp’s Hunter and Huntington power plants in Emery County, Utah. EPA is withdrawing a federal plan issued for these plants in 2016. 

EPA is approving Utah’s regional haze plan in its entirety, which includes providing credits for existing nitrogen oxide emissions control systems in place at PacifiCorp’s Hunter and Huntington power plants and reductions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter associated with the closure of the nearby Carbon power plant in 2015. 

“EPA’s approval of Utah’s regional haze plan reflects a thorough review of public comments and information and data that demonstrate significant reductions in haze-forming emissions, consistent with the Clean Air Act and the goal of protecting visibility in our National Parks and wilderness areas,” said EPA Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin.  “We will continue to support the state as we work together to improve air quality for the benefit of Utah’s communities.” 

“The approval of Utah’s regional haze plan is the culmination of a lot of hard work from the scientists in DEQ’s Division of Air Quality,” said Bryce Bird, Director of The Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Air Quality. “We appreciate the efforts of EPA to act on Utah’s plan and the many stakeholders who participated in the development of the plan. Utah’s regional haze plan has protected visibility in our national parks, supported rural economies and reduced emissions of harmful air pollutants for the residents and visitors to the state.” 

Utah’s plan is based on new technical information and a modeling analysis indicating the plan will achieve greater visibility benefits in Arches, Canyonlands and seven other National Parks and Wilderness Areas protected as “Class I” areas under the Clean Air Act. Utah’s plan will reduce overall air emissions by an estimated 1,879 tons per year relative to EPA’s 2016 plan, which had required the application of selective catalytic reduction emissions control systems at the Hunter and Huntington power plants. 

The Clean Air Act requires states to work with EPA to develop and implement air quality protection plans to reduce pollution contributing to visibility impairment in National Parks and Wilderness Areas. EPA has been working with Utah, as it has with states across the country, to develop and implement these regional haze plans. 

EPA proposed and accepted public comment on these actions earlier this year, including a March 23 public hearing in Price, Utah. EPA’s decision is based on a thorough evaluation of all comments received. 

More information on EPA’s action can be found at: https://beta.regulations.gov/document/EPA-R08-OAR-2015-0463-1142