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Utah's Environment: 2012:
Message from the Executive Director
The Utah Department of Environmental Quality has, since 2006, taken this opportunity to highlight our environmental achievements of the past year in its annual State of the Environment Report. Each year the report updates the most current information on the amount of pollution released to Utah's environment, and it showcases our environmental achievements. This report is no different in that regard. DEQ's six divisions continue to make improvements toward protecting Utah's air, land, and water, all while implementing new recommendations to improve efficiencies.
This year has been challenging, with a number of industrial accidents that mandated environmental cleanups, and implementation of new oversight recommendations. But there have been important milestones as well. Notably, the Deseret Chemical Depot completed its incineration of stockpiles of 45 percent of the nation's chemical weapon stockpile, all under DEQ oversight. The Depot has successfully completed its mission and is now being closed.
A highlight of our 2012 achievements has been the near completion of the State Implementation Plan for PM2.5 air pollution, which we all can see is a problem in the winter. This plan, developed over three years, will bring the Wasatch Front and Cache Valley into compliance with federal air quality standards to protect human health. The effort involved more than 100 stakeholders in Utah's most affected counties. Some of Utah's air quality concerns are the result of natural chemical reactions during the winter months. But with about 10,000 individual sources of pollution, our solutions will require meaningful participation from everyone.
At the forefront of the effort to protect Utah's air quality statewide is Gov. Gary Herbert, who in early 2012 launched U-CAIR (Utah Clean Air Partnership). This is the first statewide air quality initiative that encourages all Utahns to do their part voluntarily to improve Utah's air. Businesses, industry, individuals, and governmental entities are now pledging to make substantive efforts to reduce air pollution.
We are also working closely with stakeholders to come up with a proactive approach to manage water pollution in Utah, especially nitrogen and phosphorus. Ensuring the quality of Utah's waterways will be an increasing priority in the year ahead.
While much progress has been made, there remain issues that need our vigilance. Understanding and improving air quality in the Uintah Basin remains a top priority. In partnership with the Uintah and Duschesne counties, the Special Services District, Utah State University, Western Energy Alliance, Bureau of Land Management, and the Environmental Protection Agency, we are working to improve the air quality in the basin. It is a local approach that we are confident will result in a local solution. The Division of Air Quality is currently working with stakeholders to reduce emissions, while allowing development to continue.
Our mission remains resolute: We will safeguard human health and quality of life, while protecting and enhancing Utah's environment. This annual report provides you, the public and interested stakeholders, with the data to show we are, in fact, doing that.
- Utah's Report on the Environment: 2012 (Full Printable Version)
Utah's Report on the Environment (Full Printable Versions):
Send comments or questions to Donna Spangler.