27 June 2011
Today, Bryce Bird, Director of the Utah Division of Air Quality (DAQ) signed a modified approval order for Kennecott Utah Copper’s Bingham Canyon Mine. The clean air activist community, including Utah Moms for Clean Air and the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, denounce DAQ’s move to further pave the way for Kennecott’s expansion despite strong public opposition.
Thanks to ongoing public pressure, the permit does strengthen requirements on Kennecott to control dust emissions and monitor for air quality in two locations, as well as, establish new emission caps for the facility, but Utah Moms for Clean Air believes this still falls far short of what is required to protect public health.
“DAQ’s declared mission is to ‘safeguard human health and quality of life by protecting and enhancing the environment’ says Utah Moms for Clean Air President, Cherise Udell, “Nowhere does DEQ’s mission state ‘and safeguard the needs of Utah’s industrial polluters’ and yet that appears to be their priority.”
Utah’s air pollution is at times the worst in the nation – and every year between 1,000 and 2,000 Utahns die prematurely due to chronic air pollution exposure. Since, Kennecott creates about 30% of our local air pollution, logic suggests they are also responsible for 30% of these premature deaths – and DAQ is continuing to approve the permit necessary to expand by 30%? Clearly, not enough is being done to clean-up Utah’s air and safeguard public health. We call upon DAQ, Bryce Byrd and Amanda Smith to prove through their actions that protecting public health is their number one priority – and stop approving permits for Kennecott’s expansion until substantial air pollution mitigation investments are agreed upon. Kennecott is a division of Rio Tinto.
For a full list of our demands, please contact Cherise Udell at email@example.com.
Contact: Cherise Udell, President, Utah Moms for Clean Air: 510-306-6963 or firstname.lastname@example.org