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Letter: Pollution is ruining national park views

In this Aug. 23, 2016 photo, clean air, public health and national park advocates march to Rocky Mountain Power headquarters in Salt Lake City, in support of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) recently approved plan to reduce coal pollution in beloved national parks such as Arches, Canyonlands and Zion. A 20-year plan by Utah's largest electricity provider stipulating that it will not add pollution-control systems to its coal power plants has received criticism from some in the state who say the proposal may violate a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirement and get in the way of the federal push to curb regional haze, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. (Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

Utah’s national parks bring people from all over the world and provide locals a respite from daily life. Unfortunately, our national parks are being clouded by a haze of human-made NOx (nitrogen oxide) and PM (particulate matter) pollution being emitted from the Hunter and Huntington coal power plants. The pollution from these power plants reduces the ability to see Canyonlands, Arches, Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion National Parks by 70% of the year or more!

There are solutions available through an industry-standard technology called SCR (selective catalytic reduction), which Pacificorp uses at other plants. EPA analyses found the Hunter and Huntington plants could achieve significant pollution reductions through SCR. So why isn’t Pacificorp using SCR at these plants? In 2015, they made a deal with the state of Utah to close down a coal-fired plant, which the plant was non-compliant with mercury emissions anyway. Then in 2016, because of the regional haze issue, the EPA required SCR to be installed by 2021. Instead of complying with the EPA, Utah chose litigation against them.

What can you do? Contact the Utah Air Quality board and ask them to address the NOx and PM pollution and create a regional haze rule with effective actions.

Maurena Grossman, Salt Lake City

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