(EnviroNews Utah) – Salt Lake City – On Jan. 8, 2014, Lionel Trepanier of Utah Tar Sands Resistance turned his back on a “failed” Air Quality Board and addressed the audience attending a meeting where the Board was voting to pass or reject the State Implementation Plan (SIP) required by the EPA in response to Utah’s dangerous and downright deadly air quality.
The DAQ is in the extension period which will end on Dec. 14, 2019, and if Utah’s air quality does not meet federal guidelines by then, the state will face federal enforcement and quite possibly some drastic consequences.
For a state that does not like having the federal government in its business, Utah’s DAQ has been slow in making any real decisions of consequence that would result in them getting a handle on the air pollution crisis. While they could be taking strong measures, the DAQ has instead chosen to grant a 32% expansion to the single largest air pollution culprit in the state, Kennecott Utah Copper. They have also signed off on a pollution expansion for the Tesoro Refinery with a Holly Refinery expansion pending.
Development of tar sands in Eastern Utah and current refining of Canadian tar sands crude at Salt Lake refineries are also major causes for concern in a place hampered by $1 billion per year in air pollution related medical expenses, according to the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment (UPHE).
Now Utah faces it’s biggest challenge yet — the monumental task at hand: the re-creation a livable valley from one that has been badly fouled by the greedy cash grabs of multinational corporations.
The fox is now guarding the hen house with the the Air Quality Board being chaired by Stephen Sands II of Kennecott, and also containing member Karma Thomson of the Tesoro Refinery. It is therefore no wonder that Utah continues to defy logic and science by allowing industries to grow that have proven time and again that they have no real stake in the health of those living along the Wasatch Front.