The EPA announced this week that they have awarded a $9.7 million dollar grant to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality to improve air quality in two parts of the state: the Uinta Basin and Salt Lake City. “Utah DEQ has demonstrated consistent leadership in working with local interests to make progress on air quality challenges and enhance public health,” shares EPA Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin. “These grants will help our partners in Utah continue to improve air quality in communities affected by air pollution.”  In the Uinta Basin, $5 million dollars will be used to replace natural gas engines used in energy production equipment with new, cleaner-burning engines. “Upgrading engines will certainly help air quality in our area,” shares USU Bingham Research Center Director Dr. Seth Lyman. “Newer engines emit less NOx, a critical precursor to wintertime ozone.” The DEQ will work with the Ute Tribe and oil and gas companies operating in the Uinta Basin to identify what equipment is eligible. “We are grateful for these airshed grants that demonstrate our continued partnership in funding programs that will improve air quality and public health,” shares Utah Department of Environmental Quality Executive Director Scott Baird. “We’re looking forward to putting this funding to use in helping those areas and people most in need.”