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2011 State Implementation Plan: Regional Haze

Utah Technical Support Documentation Supplement: 2011

Utah’s Regional Haze SIP is the product of twenty years of work, beginning with the Grand Canyon Visibility Transport Commission in 1991.The SIP was developed through a consensus-based regional stakeholder process that led the nation in protecting the vistas of western Class I areas, including the five national parks in Utah.

One of the key strategies in the Regional Haze SIP is the establishment of regional milestones for SO2, a major contributor to haze in western Class I areas. The milestones establish the expected level of emission reductions between 2003 and 2018 in Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico. If emissions in the 3-state region exceed the milestones, a backstop regulatory trading program will be implemented to ensure that the emission reduction goals of the SIP are achieved.


Smoke Management Program

Utah’s smoke management program is another key element of the Regional Haze SIP. Past land management practices, including decades of fire suppression, have led to an increase of accumulated forest fuels. Thus, wildfires are becoming larger in size, unnaturally destructive, and more dangerous and costly to control. Fire is a component of most natural ecosystems in the West and must be a component of processes to meet land management, human health and visibility objectives. Prescribed fire and wildfire levels are projected to increase significantly for decades to come, and Utah’s smoke management program was developed to minimize emissions and visibility impacts and educate the public. The plan includes the following elements:

  • Actions to Minimize Fire Emissions
    • Large Prescribed Fires Require DAQ Approval
    • Land Managers Must Develop Burn Plans that Address Air Quality Issues
    • Prescribed Fires are Limited to Days when Smoke will Quickly Disperse
  • Air Quality Monitoring
  • Alternatives to Fire
  • Evaluation of Smoke Dispersion
  • Public Notification of Burning

While the smoke management program has been very effective, there is little that can be done in the short term to reduce the emissions from major wildfires. Haze in Utah’s Class I Areas is significantly affected by fire on the 20% worst days.

Clean Air Corridors

During certain times of the year the visibility in Utah’s National Parks is among the best in the nation. One of the goals of the Regional Haze SIP is to ensure that haze does not increase on these clean days. During the cleanest days of the year the air flow is often from the northwest. The SIP requires tracking of emissions growth in the Clean Air Corridor that includes portions of Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and Oregon.

Mobile Source Reductions

Significant emission reductions have occurred due to new federal standards for on-road and non-road vehicles.

Pollution Prevention and Renewable Energy Program

The SIP outlines the regional renewable energy goal, programs to encourage early compliance , and programs to expand energy conservation.

Technical Support Documentation for the Regional Haze SIP

The technical support documentation for the regional haze SIP was originally developed to support the 2003 SIPs and has been updated to include additional information to support the 2008 SIP revisions.

Regional SO2 Emissions Milestone Report

A specific commitment in the Regional Haze SIP requires the states submitting SIPs under Section 309 of the Federal Regional Haze Rule (40 CFR 51.309) to report annually the actual emissions for stationary sources emitting 100 tons per year or more of sulfur dioxide (SO2) to determine if the annual milestone for the backstop trading program were exceeded.

Milestone Reports


2003 Regional Haze Sip

When the EPA adopted the Regional Haze Rule at 40 CFR 51.309 in 1999, it incorporated the 1996 recommendations of the Grand Canyon Visibility Transport Commission (GCVTC). In September, 2000 the WRAP, a regional planning organization that was established to address regional haze, submitted an Annex to the GCVTC recommendations that provided the details for regional milestones and a backstop trading program for stationary sources that emit sulfur dioxide. On June 5, 2003, EPA approved the Annex and incorporated the stationary source provisions into the Regional Haze Rule. In December, 2003 the Air Quality Board adopted Section XX of the SIP to address regional haze. This plan was based on the GCVTC recommendations and the Annex and contained a broad-based strategy to address the many source categories and pollutants that contributed to regional haze in Utah.

  • Clean Air Corridors
  • Fire
  • Mobile Sources
  • Paved and Unpaved Road Dust
  • Pollution Prevention and Renewable Energy Programs
  • Stationary Sources

EPA’s approval of the Annex was challenged, and on February 18, 2005 the DC Circuit Court of Appeals vacated EPA’s 2003 rules (Center for Energy and Economic Development (CEED) vs. Environmental Protection Agency, February 18, 2005). The Court determined that EPA had required a BART demonstration in the Annex that was based on a methodology that had been vacated by the Court in 2002 (American Corn Growers Association vs. Environmental Protection Agency, May 24, 2002). On October 13, 2006 EPA revised the regional haze rule to establish the methodology for states to develop an alternative to BART that was consistent with the Court’s decision.

2008 Regional Haze SIP

While most of the 2003 SIP remains unchanged, in 2008 the Air Quality Board adopted revisions to the stationary source provisions of the SIP to meet the requirements of the revised regional haze rule and to reflect changes in the number of states participating in the program. In addition to these changes, the rule required an update to the SIP in 2008 to address the “Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART)” requirement for NOx and PM as well as an analysis of the impact of sources in Utah on Class I areas outside of the Colorado Plateau.

2011 Regional Haze SIP

The SO2 milestones were updated in 2011 to reflect a reduced number of states participating in the program (Arizona elected to pursue a SIP under section 308 of the regional haze rule). In addition, the growth estimates for coal-fired utilities and the estimates for emission reductions due to BART were revised.