SALT LAKE CITY – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected three Utah groups to receive funding to conduct air quality monitoring in communities across Davis and Salt Lake Counties. These grants are among 132 air monitoring projects in 37 states that will receive $53.4 million from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and American Rescue Plan to enhance air quality monitoring in communities across the United States. The projects are focused on communities that are underserved, historically marginalized, and overburdened by pollution, supporting President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative.
“This funding will help address air quality information gaps in and near underserved communities in the Salt Lake Valley, providing community members with more data about the air they breathe” said EPA Regional Administrator, KC Becker. “The data these projects produce will help Utah communities more closely evaluate potential pollution concerns and opportunities to address them.”
Today’s announcement includes funding for the following air monitoring projects in Utah:
- Utah Department of Environmental Quality ($285,379) – Deployment of 40 particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) sensors in communities of Magna, West Valley, and target neighborhoods in northwest Salt Lake City, which are disproportionately affected by particle pollution because of their proximity to industry, diesel traffic, and the Great Salt Lake’s exposed lakebed. Community partners will guide all aspects of the project, including sensor siting, data collection, presentation of results, and community outreach.
- Salt Lake County ($500,000) – Expansion of the eBus Air Quality Monitoring project, which utilizes air monitors on electric buses to measure fine particulate matter (PM2.5), ozone, and nitrogen oxide pollutants in underserved communities across west Salt Lake County. Grant funds will be used for the installation and operation of eight mobile air monitors to supplement the current fleet of three. Data from the project will be used to inform Salt Lake County’s efforts in improving air quality through creation of a detailed pollution mapping system.
- Utah Department of Environmental Quality ($499,208) – Enhancement of hazardous air pollutant (HAP) and volatile organic compound (VOC) monitoring in underserved communities in Davis and Salt Lake Counties along Utah’s Northern Wasatch Front through the use of mobile VOC monitoring stations. Data will be presented though a public-facing website with an interactive map that allows visualizations of the measurements and sampling routes, and information will be shared during periodic community meetings.
The air pollution monitoring projects are made possible by more than $30 million in Inflation Reduction Act funds, which supplemented $20 million from the American Rescue Plan and enabled EPA to support 77 additional projects, more than twice the number of projects initially proposed by community-based nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and Tribal governments.
These grant selections further the goals of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative and Executive Order, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, which directed that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to overburdened communities that face disproportionately high and adverse health and environmental impacts. By enhancing air monitoring and encouraging partnerships with communities, EPA is investing in efforts to better protect people’s health, particularly those in underserved communities.
EPA will start the process to award the funding by the end of 2022, once the grant applicants have met all legal and administrative requirements. Grantees will have three years to spend the funds from the time EPA awards the grants.
In spring 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, providing EPA with a one-time supplemental appropriation of $100 million to address health outcome disparities from pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of that $100 million, was dedicated to air quality monitoring. EPA Regions began awarding nearly $22.5 million from this appropriation in 2022 as direct awards to state, tribal, and local air agencies for continuous monitoring of fine particle and other common pollutants. In addition, EPA Regions are in the process of procuring monitoring equipment using $5 million in American Rescue Plan funding to advance the EPA Regional Offices’ mobile air monitoring capacity and establish air sensor loan programs. These investments will improve EPA’s ability to support communities that need short-term monitoring and air quality information.
In July 2021, EPA announced the $20 million American Rescue Plan Enhanced Air Quality Monitoring for Communities Grant Competition. The goal of this competition was to improve air quality monitoring in and near underserved communities across the United States, support community efforts to monitor their own air quality, and promote air quality monitoring partnerships between communities and tribal, state, and local governments. EPA received more than 200 applications in response to the competition.
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provides funding to EPA to deploy, integrate, support, and maintain fenceline air monitoring, screening air monitoring, national air toxics trend stations, and other air toxics and community monitoring. Specifically, the Inflation Reduction Act provides funding for grants and other activities under section 103 and section 105 of the Clean Air Act. EPA is using approximately $32.3 million of this funding to select 77 high-scoring community monitoring applications.