Brian Maffly – The Salt Lake Tribune
Utah environmental regulators on Wednesday unveiled a revised plan for clearing the skies over the state’s national parks, but to environmentalists’ dismay it would do nothing to further cut emissions from aging coal-fired power plants.
Environmental groups and national park advocates had hoped the plan would require Rocky Mountain Power to retrofit two of its biggest Utah plants with the best technology available today for capturing nitrogen oxide emissions.
Instead, Division of Air Quality scientists sided with the utility and stuck with a dated pollution control plan, which they say will clean up the air enough. Anything more, they insist, is just cost-prohibitive.
“These required investments have been a significant contributing factor in recent price increases for our customers,” RMP spokesman David Eskelsen said. “These controls significantly reduced emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and particulates. The substantial additional expense of selective catalytic reduction on these units would likely not result in noticeable improvement to visibility in areas targeted by the Regional Haze program.”
Utah has until January to submit a plan for cutting regional haze to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval.
Under that court-ordered deadline, the Air Quality Board on Wednesday endorsed a revised plan for Rocky Mountain Power’s 1970s-vintage Hunter and Huntington stations in Emery County and opened up a 30-day public comment period. (…)