Update: March 3, 2023
HB 220 passed the legislature! The bill now goes to Gov. Cox's desk to be signed into law!
This is action! HB 220 is among the most impactful pieces of air quality legislation in the last decade — it will clean our air and save lives!
A special thank you to the bill's sponsors Rep. Andrew Stoddard and Sen. Kirk Cullimore, and to all of you for supporting HB 220 throughout the process!
HB 220 has gone through a number of changes throughout the legislative session, so what will the version that passed today accomplish?
The Division of Air Quality (DAQ) must make a recommendation to the legislature on a state halogen emissions limit by the end of 2024.
In the meantime, DAQ must set a tech-based standard for bromine and other halogen emissions. This means they will require companies to use certain tools to limit emissions.
The DAQ has to identify and quantify all industrial sources of halogens.
Halogen emissions must be controlled no later than 2026.
This is a monumental win, but just the start of Prosperity 2030 — our overarching goal to reduce emissions by 50%.
Update: February 28, 2023
One more step for HB 220! The bill passed unanimously in the Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Committee.
HB 220 will be on the Senate floor in the coming days. Reach out to your senators to help push HB 220 across the finish line.
It’s best to send them a personal note asking them to support HB 220 and letting them know how our poor air quality affects you and the importance of air quality legislation.
Update: February 24, 2023
HB 220 is on the move again! This morning, the bill passed unanimously on the House floor.
Thank you to Rep. Andrew Stoddard and everyone in our community who lobbied, called, and emailed their representatives to help get HB 220 to this point.
Next up, the bill will be heard in the Senate and the baton is passed onto the floor sponsor Sen. Kirk Cullimore.
Stay tuned for more updates!
Update: February 22, 2023
HB 220 was heard this morning in the House Natural Resources Committee so we wanted to provide a quick update on where the bill stands.
The good news: HB 220 passed unanimously! This is a major step forward for significant improvements in our air quality.
However, the bill did pass with an amendment. The amendment requires the Division of Air Quality (DAQ) to identify and measure point sources of all halogens, including bromine. This is a departure from the original bill that would require DAQ to make a plan to reduce bromine emissions.
Our view of HB 220 was a two-step plan. Step one: identify sources of bromine pollution. Step two: require a plan to reduce those sources. The amendment now limits HB 220 to step one and states no plan for action.
Of course, we already know bromine emissions are an issue. Although the bill sets a plan for further studies, it’s disappointing this committee does not recognize the urgency for action on air quality.
What does this mean for the future of HB 220?
The bottom line: HB 220 is moving on to the House floor for a vote, which is great news!
We need to keep up the momentum — ask your representatives to support HB 220!
We will continue to work hard to ensure HB 220 enacts meaningful change.
Update: February 21, 2023
We have the plan to stop US Magnesium’s reckless polluting.
The plan is HB 220 (Emissions Reduction Amendments) and it is currently up for a vote in the legislative session.
The bill focuses specifically on reducing bromine pollution, like US Magnesium emits, which has an outsized impact on our inversions.
HB 220 serves as phase 1 of Prosperity 2030 — our legislative framework with the goal of reducing emissions by 50% along the Wasatch Front.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of HB 220, let’s look at the root of the issue.
Midlatitude Ozone Depletion and Air Quality Impacts Study
This is the study that’s been in the news recently, and for good reason.
The study ultimately concluded that US Magnesium, a magnesium producer located on the west side of the Great Salt Lake, is responsible for increasing the winter-time inversion pollution by up to 25%.1
The study found that a single gas, bromine, was largely responsible for causing powerful chemical reactions that convert gasses into unhealthy small particles (PM2.5) along the Wasatch Front.
Our bad air days are characterized by how much PM2.5 accumulates in our air. PM2.5 refers to microscopic droplets less than 2.5 microns in diameter that negatively impact your lungs and heart.
On average, the Salt Lake Valley has 18 days per year when PM2.5 levels exceed the national air quality standards and even more days when bad air harms our health.2
This critical study identified the powerful harm that one pollutant has in our unique airshed — something that was previously not widely understood. Neither state nor federal law directly regulates bromine as an air pollutant.
A closer look at HB 220
As we mentioned above, HB 220 is just part of our ultimate Prosperity 2030 goal. And if you’ve been paying close attention, you’ll notice HB 220 looks slightly different now than it did even a few weeks ago.
When we introduced HB 220 at the beginning of the legislative session there was a lot in it. Even though it’s just the first phase of Prosperity 2030, the bill was a 60-page piece of legislation.
It had new programs for reducing vehicle pollution, ways to address pollution from railroads, standards for pollution-free construction for our homes and buildings, and pollution caps for the inland port. It also had a section limiting bromine pollution along the Wasatch Front.
Based on our conversations with legislators about that massive bill, we’ve decided to focus in on passing one short — but powerful — section from the original legislation: bromine pollution.
The newly-modified HB 220 will advance a policy requiring the Division of Air Quality (DAQ) to reduce bromine emissions by 90% by 2026.
The kicker? The new version of HB 220 has bi-partisan support, including from our sponsors Rep. Andrew Stoddard (D) and Sen. Kirk Cullimore (R).
The other kicker? HB 220, as modified, is a giant step toward Prosperity 2030’s goals. Research indicates that bromine pollution from just one source is increasing our winter pollution problem by up to 25%. A major win!
It is not hyperbole to say if this bill passes it will be among the most significant pieces of air quality legislation in Utah’s history. And we will be back next year to work on the rest of the policies from the original HB 220 bill and Prosperity 2030.
How can you help?
With less than two weeks left of the legislative session, it’s crucial to reach out to your representatives and ask them to support HB 220. This is an issue we can take control of right now with your help.
Plus, you can join us this Thursday for our final Citizen Lobby Day and meet face-to-face with your representatives.
Let your representatives know the current state of our air is unacceptable. One company increasing our inversion by up to 25% is unacceptable. And standing by and letting it continue is unacceptable.