This was written by Judy Fahys for The Salt Lake Tribune:
Utah’s air pollution hot spots stand to benefit more than anywhere else in the nation from a federal clean-car proposal.
And, with that in mind, members of the Utah Air Quality Board voted 6-2 Wednesday to send a letter voicing support for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed “Tier 3” standards.
“As we are seeking other [pollution reduction] benefits,” said Robert Paine, a board member and pulmonologist, “this could be important.”
The letter won’t be sent unless a board majority signs off on the final wording.
Two board members, Karma M. Thompson, of the Salt Lake City Tesoro refinery, and Tammie G. Lucero, executive director of the Uinta County Economic Development office, opposed sending the letter, which is being refined by conference call before the EPA’s July 1 comment deadline.
But a majority liked the idea of standards that would slash the key pollutants behind northern Utah’s summer and winter pollution problems.
Using Cache County emissions as an example, Division of Air Quality staff showed how “Tier 3” would cut nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds by more than half, even as the miles driven doubles in the next 25 years.
The two pollutants — big contributors to Utah’s summer ozone problem and winter smog — would be cut by 80 percent, under EPA’s proposal, and the fine soot that plagues northern valleys during winter inversions would be reduced 70 percent.
The cuts would be accomplished by better vehicle technology and cleaner fuel, gasoline with two-thirds less of the sulfur that makes catalytic converters burn less efficiently.
The air quality improvements, EPA has said, will raise gasoline prices by a penny a gallon. The petroleum trade group American Petroleum Institute says it will be 6 to 9 cents more. It would also add around $134 to a new car’s sticker price.