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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Clearing the national air • There are many nice things about having so many national parks in Utah. One of them is that the rest of the country cares about what they look like. Or whether you can look at them at all through the haze of the various air pollutants emitted by the state's large power plants. The Environmental Protection Agency recently returned to the Utah Division of Air Quality some draft standards for cleaning up the air downwind of PacificCorp's coal-fired plants near Huntington and Castle Dale, ruling that they didn't do enough to reduce the output of such haze-producing — not to mention health-endangering — chemicals as nitrogen oxides. It will now be incumbent on both the state and the corporation to use what the industry calls "best available technology" to clean up the air around southern Utah's parks and red-rock territory. These are gizmos that are already in common use in the Eastern states. It's just too bad that Utah couldn't have done this without the federal push.

Afraid of a fight? • You can say a lot of critical things about Utah's amazingly senior senator, Orrin Hatch. But a suggestion that he doesn't know how to debate, after six terms in the Senate, would not be one of them. That is why it is disappointing that Hatch has so far dodged invitations to debate his Republican primary challenger, Dan Liljenquist, before GOP voters go to the polls June 26. Hatch found time to debate before the state convention, even though he had to take time away from Senate business to do so. Claims that he's too busy now, when voters have an important decision to make, just don't wash. It is certainly not uncommon for incumbents, especially those with big leads and bigger bank accounts, to avoid debates that would only give their lesser-known rivals more attention. Not uncommon. And not very respectful of the voters.

Brokering a truce • Usually the job of bringing peace to rival factions is a job that belongs to the State Department. But Hillary is busy, so the U.S. Forest Service has managed to work out a deal between the owners of some private land in an area known as Cardiff Fork in Big Cottonwood Canyon and some of the skiers and hikers who are attracted to the area. In return for allowing more public access, landowners will be guaranteed year-round motorized access to the properties along the dirt road also known as Mill D South Fork. It is a deal that should avoid some of the feelings that had led to clashes between the different factions. It is now up to those involved to make the peace work.

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