Matt Pacenza, executive director of HEAL Utah, expressed dismay at the Legislature's priorities.
"It's distressing that legislators will throw tens of millions of dollars in public money at a doomed scheme to prop up a failing industry, yet balk at spending any resources at cleaning up our air or otherwise improving public health and the environment," he said.
Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment director Tim Wagner chalked it up as a victory for "extreme ideology and big-moneyed special interests."
In contrast, Rep. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, House sponsor of the bill, said Utah's coal country "is ready to be part of the global market. ... This is an important issue for rural Utah. "