News Releases from Region 10
Idaho Selected to Receive $2.5 Million EPA Grant to Improve Air Quality in Cache Valley
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality has been recommended to receive $2.5 million in Clean Air Act Targeted Airshed grant funds to help improve air quality in southeastern Idaho's Cache Valley. Grant awards will be made upon successful completion of the award application process. Targeted Airshed funds will be used to reduce air pollution from wood stoves, road dust and motor vehicles in the valley.
“Idaho’s strong partnership working with the community and local businesses to reduce air pollution and improve public health are commendable,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “We’re pleased that Targeted Airshed grant funds will be available to help support the community's ability to take action on air quality issues and develop meaningful local solutions.”
“The Idaho side of the Cache Valley has been working diligently to reduce our particulate matter contribution to the airshed,” said Melissa Gibbs DEQ Air Quality Manager. “We are excited to have received this grant funding to further our progress, protect public health, and benefit the citizens of both Idaho and Utah.”
The Cache Valley airshed includes the city of Preston and parts of Franklin County, Idaho as well as the city of Logan, Utah and parts of Cache County, Utah. In 2009, EPA designated the Cache Valley cross-border airshed as nonattainment for particulate matter levels that were above the National Ambient Air Quality Standard. Cache Valley is impacted by fine particle air pollution especially during wintertime air stagnation weather events that trap pollution in the valley.
Idaho DEQ has been working with the community, local businesses, and the Cache Valley Airshed Advisory Group to reduce fine particle emissions from multiple sources. Targeted Airshed funds will support projects to reduce fine particle air pollution, including: changing out older, less efficient woodstoves to reduce smoke emissions; providing free home weatherization and energy audits; increasing community outreach and education with a new smart phone air quality app; improving winter road salt and sanding operations to reduce road dust; retrofitting gas station storage tanks with air pollution controls; and sustaining commuter bus service between Preston, Idaho and Logan, Utah.
Cache County, Utah, including the city of Logan, has also been recommended to receive Targeted Airshed grant funds to help improve air quality in the Utah portion of the Cache Valley cross-border airshed nonattainment area.
Numerous scientific studies have linked exposure to fine particles — approximately 1/30th the size of a human hair — with serious human health problems, including premature death in people with heart and lung disease, and a range of other serious events such as nonfatal heart attacks and increased hospital admissions, and doctor and emergency room visits by those with respiratory ailments and cardiovascular disease.
Fine particles can be emitted directly from sources such as dust from roads or smoke from wood fires. Fine particles also form in the atmosphere as a result of complex reactions of chemicals such as nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds emitted from automobiles and other sources.
Using cleaner sources of home heating, especially during winter weather inversions, can greatly reduce fine particle emissions. For those who must burn wood, using dry wood in professionally installed EPA-certified woodstoves, and using proper techniques to burn wood hotter, both reduces fine particle pollution and the amount of wood burned. Woodstove change-out programs can help cut fine particle emissions by reducing the numbers of high polluting solid fuel-fired heating devices in an area.
Learn more about fine particle air pollution: https://www.epa.gov/pm-pollution/particulate-matter-pm-basics.