Colorado joins fight against coal-fired power plants in Utah

Huntington coal-fired power plant, in Emery County, Utah. Photo by Lindsay Beebe.

Huntington coal-fired power plant, in Emery County, Utah. Photo by Lindsay Beebe.

Colorado joined the debate about Utah’s coal-fired power plants this week when more than 100 Colorado companies and tourism leaders signed a letter urging the Environmental Protection Agency to forcibly reduce pollution.

The EPA released a draft plan in December outlining two ways to deal with nitrogen oxide pollution from Rocky Mountain Power’s Hunter and Huntington coal-fired plants. Hunter and Huntington are two of the oldest and dirtiest plants in Utah, and could be causing 40 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions from Utah’s electricity network, according to the Sierra Club.

The state of Utah claims previous upgrades to the plants are sufficient, according to the Denver Post, which is essentially what advocacy groups are calling the “do-nothing” approach the EPA could take. The EPA’s alternate plan proposes retrofitting the plants with pollution reduction technology that could reduce nitrogen oxides by more than 80 percent.

Utah residents have been vocal supporters of what has been labeled the “Clean Parks Plan,” urging the EPA to take measures that would protect the state’s five national parks and therefore its booming outdoor industry. This week was the first time Colorado companies have banded together in favor of the plan, citing concern for the air quality in Colorado’s parks and federal lands.

SNEWS and other sister publications of Active Interest Media, based in Boulder, Colo., were among the outdoor gear and media companies that signed the letter.

“Colorado’s public lands and national parks, with their stunning views and pristine environments, are critical to the state’s $13.2 billion outdoor-recreation economy,” the letter said.

“Unfortunately, public lands in Colorado and across the Southwest are threatened by dangerous sources of pollution that harm the very environment our growing outdoor-recreation economy depends on.”

Trump Energy Independence order

Hunter coal-fired power plant, in Emery County, Utah. Photo by Lindsay Beebe.

Hunter and Huntington directly put Colorado’s economy at risk, the letter said.

The public comment period ended Monday evening and the EPA received more than 55,000 comments in favor of the “Clean Parks Plan,” according to the Sierra Club. But it’s not too late to share your opinion. Even though the public comment period is over, raising awareness is still important.

“Any opinions and commentary directed at the EPA via social media will still have an impact, as it will demonstrate the weight of public opinion to the agency,” Sam Bass, editor and content director of Backbone Media, wrote in an email. Backbone Media works with the Sierra Club.

The Sierra Club has started a petition at which currently has 40,830 of the 50,000 signatures it wants to collect.

On Twitter, tweet your thoughts to @EPA and @EPARegion8, which encompasses Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming and 27 tribal nations. Find them on Facebook as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. EPA Region 8, and use hashtags #CleanAir4Utah and #CleanAir4Colorado.


Huntington coal-fired power plant, in Emery County, Utah. Photo by Lindsay Beebe.

EPA takes stand against power plants in Utah for cleaner air

The Environmental Protection Agency adopted a plan Wednesday to protect national parks and wilderness areas in Utah, Colorado and Arizona from haze pollution from coal-fired power plants in Utah. The plan, known by industry advocates as the “Clean Parks Plan,” requires two of more

Lt. Gov Spencer Cox

Yvon Chouinard, Peter Metcalf put pressure on Utah for fighting public lands

Peter Metcalf and Yvon Chouinard call for a boycott over the state’s “all-out assault” on protected public lands. For decades, Utah’s granite mountains have served as a backdrop to one of the outdoor industry’s biggest shows. But as the state fights public lands protection, it more

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 12.24.17 AM

Is Utah coming around on public lands?

Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz posted on Instagram late Wednesday night that he has heard the message loud and clear: America doesn't want its public lands to be sold. He plans to drop H.R. 621, which would have put up 3.3 million acres of land for sale. "I'm a proud gun more

Rep. Rob Bishop

Utah Congressman asks for $50 million to transfer federal land to states

The Outdoor Industry Association has criticized Bishop's request as an attack on public lands. Utah Rep. Rob Bishop, chairman of the House Resources Committee, has asked that the 2018 budget include $50 million to enable states to take over federal public lands. Bishop argued more

Trump Energy Independence order

Trump signs order to dismantle Obama's Clean Power Plan

Trump's "Energy Independence" order threatens the environment. President Donald Trump has signed an order intended to undo much of the work his predecessor did regarding climate change. The “Energy Independence” executive order directs the Environmental Protection Agency to more

Patagonia launches Phone2Action campaign

Patagonia wants to flood Utah Governor with phone calls

Patagonia has partnered with Phone2Action to encourage public lands supporters to call Utah Governor Gary Herbert. Patagonia has started a phone call campaign to “Defend Utah’s Public Lands,” using Phone2Action, which will connect people directly to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's more

Bears Ears National Monument

Utah has crashed the Outdoor Retailer bid party

Utah wants in on the Outdoor Retailer bid process, even though it was uninvited. Utah knows it wasn’t invited to the bid party for Outdoor Retailer, but it has submitted an unsolicited proposal anyway, according to Salt Lake City news outlets. "We know political winds can more

Bears Ears National Monument

Outdoor Retailer will not be in Utah after summer 2018

After a call with Governor Gary Herbert, Outdoor Retailer announced that it would not include Utah in its request for proposals for new venues for the show. In spite of a growing campaign to persuade Utah Gov. Gary Herbert to work with the outdoor industry on public lands more

Jason Chaffetz

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz asks to block funding for Bears Ears

The Outdoor Industry Association quickly released a statement criticizing his attempt to "kill" the monument. Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz asked a House subcommittee on Tuesday to block all proposed funding for Bears Ears National Monument. He made the request in front of the more