(KCPW News) A bill that would revise the way Utah’s Division of Air Quality sets regulations on pollution passed the Utah House of Representatives on Tuesday. The bill would strike language in a law that says Utah cannot exceed air quality standards already set by the federal government.
Republican Rep. Becky Edwards sponsors House Bill 121, and she received a bit of pushback during the final reading of the bill on the House floor.
Republican Rep. Earl Tanner asked Edwards if it made sense to create a new process for adjusting air quality standards when a process was already in place to do essentially the same thing.
“DAQ has to decide that the federal standards aren’t protecting us,” Tanner said. “Why isn’t that sufficient?”
Edwards said the language of the law now makes it nearly impossible to change standards.
“The phrase ‘not adequate to protect’ has been viewed, in theory and in practice, to be an insurmountable hurdle,” Edwards said, referring to how the current law is written. “We want this process to be difficult and strenuous and something that is under a lot of scrutiny, but we want it, in certain circumstances, to be something that could be attainable if a standard of reasonableness is found to be there.”
The bill passed the House by a 54-18 vote, and it moves to the Senate, where a similar bill is already on its second reading: Democratic Sen. Gene Davis’ SB 164. Rep. Edwards is the House sponsor of that bill.