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KUER News and RadioWest are bringing you a series of stories and conversations on Utah's air. It's easy to look at the haze on a red air quality day and say that something needs to be done about it. But what? We'll be talking about the roles that individuals, industry and government can play in cleaning up Utah's air quality. We'll also look at what the costs may to be to our economy and our health if we don't.

Utah Air Quality Board to Discuss Strategies for Controlling Wood Burning

Erik Crossman - University of Utah

The Utah Air Quality board will discuss and develop strategies for controlling wood smoke during winter at their monthly meeting Wednesday. 

Those strategies include making homeowners who use wood burning stoves as their sole source of heat transition to gas or electric furnaces. They’ll also discuss expanding wood burning restrictions for commercial and industrial sources. Kerry Kelly is a researcher at the University of Utah and a member of the Air Quality Board. She says finding strategies for controlling fine particulate pollution during the winter inversion season is one of their more difficult tasks.

“I think everyone is interested in controlling wood burning as much as we feasibly can because we see that as something that can happen relatively quickly and it’s something that we can do something about now,” she says.

Kelly says she isn’t sure, however, if the board will discuss placing restrictions on wood burning during the whole inversion season like Governor Gary Herbert has suggested.

“I have heard that it might be politically so unpopular that it might do more harm than good,” she says.

If the air quality board decides to make any recommendations, new rules could be approved and implemented as early as Autumn this year. 

Copyright 2014 KUER 90.1

Brian Grimmett is a former intern who worked his way onto the KUER staff. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a bachelor's degree in communications. As a student he helped produce and report for the University's daily news show, ElevenNEWS, and also served a year as the station's sports director. Brian developed a love for public radio when he interned at KUER, choosing to do so because it was the only broadcast related internship in Salt Lake City that offered compensation, and now says he couldn't imagine working anywhere else. Brian is originally from Arlington, Texas. When he isn't at KUER Brian enjoys spending time with his wife and and new son, taking pictures, and putting together short films and documentaries.