Gov. Gary Herbert backs new clean-emissions standards
Tier 3 • New Utah regulations would have big impact on cleaning up the air.
Published: June 24, 2013 11:34PM
Updated: June 25, 2013 07:34AM
Rick Egan | Tribune file photo Completion of the nearly three year, $1 billion-plus project to rebuild I-15 through Utah County helped give drivers a smooth ride on the state's main highway -- where motorists logged nearly 6.5 billion miles last year.

Gov. Gary Herbert has thrown his support behind clean-vehicle and clean-fuel standards that are expected to have a bigger impact in Utah than anywhere else in the nation.

Herbert praised the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed “Tier 3” standards for promising to “make a meaningful difference” for health and the environment, while having only modest cost impacts to consumers. His office sent a letter of support to the EPA last week.

“This is really a strategy,” said Herbert in a news release, “to help Utah achieve better air quality statewide and could well do more for our region’s health and environment than other efforts.”

The governor’s letter echoes one sent earlier this month by the state Air Quality Board. It also addresses issues raised by HEAL Utah, which met earlier this month with high-level advisers to the governor.

“The Wasatch Front’s air-pollution crisis demands courageous leadership,” said the environmental group’s director, Christopher Thomas, “and today the governor showed it. “We appreciate his recognition that sensible standards for cleaner gas and cars will protect our air in a way that no single individual — no matter how well intentioned — could,” Thomas said.

In his letter, Herbert urges the EPA to keep consumers in mind and to ease the disruption and cost to refineries. He also asks the EPA to balance slight emissions increases from Utah’s five refineries with the pollution reduction expected from cars and trucks.

“I am always cautious of the costs and unintended consequences of regulation,” he writes in the letter, “and have made it a priority of my administration to eliminate unnecessary regulatory burdens that stifle innovation and economic activity.”

The EPA is taking public comments on the proposal through July 1.

Twitter: @judyfutah

How to submit Tier 3 comments:

Online • Directions for submitting comments can be found at

Email •

Mail • Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20460. The EPA also asks those commenting on the information collection provisions to mail a copy to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Attn: Desk Officer for EPA, 725 17th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20503.