Clean air is still out of reach for Southwestern national parks.
Two of Utah’s oldest, dirtiest coal-fired power plants — the Hunter and Huntington facilities — pollute the air in eight of the region’s national parks: Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, Mesa Verde and Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
For years, the state of Utah has refused to make necessary pollution reductions already in place at many other coal plants across the West. Although the state must comply with the Clean Air Act’s Regional Haze Rule, since 2008 it has continued to recycle a do-nothing plan that would allow Pacificorp’s Rocky Mountain Power to let the Hunter and Huntington plants to keep on spewing preventable haze pollution.
In response to the state’s persistently weak submissions, in June of 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a regional haze plan for Utah that required the state to cut emissions from these coal plants by 76 percent — reducing haze-causing and health-harming nitrogen oxide pollution achievable through modern pollution controls.
In September 2017, under the leadership of former Administrator Scott Pruitt, the EPA undercut the June 2016 regional haze plan, suspending the requirements that would protect Southwestern national parks from coal pollution. In its place, the EPA invited the state of Utah to propose yet another plan to replace the one providing these much-needed pollution reductions. In April 2019, Utah responded by recycling its original weak plan to let the dirty, outdated Hunter and Huntington coal plants that are muddying the views and dark night skies across the region off the hook.
NPCA continues to advocate for the best option to clean the air: the June 2016 haze plan to reduce nitrogen oxide pollution from these coal plants. This plan is what is necessary to protect the Southwest’s most stunning national parks, their visitors and surrounding communities.
More than 14,000 Supporters Sent Letters to EPA
NPCA supporters sent letters to the U.S. EPA asking it to reject Utah’s regional haze plan and require the best technology to cut nitrogen oxide pollution at the Hunter and Huntington plants.
Get Action Alerts
Want national parks in your inbox? Sign up for NPCA email updates to receive news, features, and opportunities to make a difference! You can unsubscribe at any time.