HB 65 Air Conservation Act Amendments


  • Codifies into state law a rule that prohibits the Division of Air Quality from regulating the burning of solid fuel if the purpose of the burning is "cooking food". 


OPPOSE. Contact Governor Herbert and tell him to VETO HB 65.

Our Veto Request

Dear Governor Herbert,

The Breathe Utah Board of Directors and Staff respectfully ask that you carefully consider the option of vetoing HB 65 -- Air Conservation Act Amendments.

The original intent of HB 65 (“the amendment”) was to create an exemption for home cooks to prepare food with any solid fuel device--barbecue, smoker, wood-fired oven, etc.--without regulation. There is currently no actual or proposed rule for these devices. Under current burn restriction rules, “cooking” is unregulated only because it does not fall under the definition of “comfort heating”, which is specifically regulated. This legislation was drafted and brought forward to preemptively protect home cooking activities. Regardless of that original, simple, though still controversial aim, the bill’s ultimate language has expanded the potential exemption to a full and poorly defined array of commercial and non-commercial burning activities.

There are two aspects to the original bill that expand its impact well beyond its intent. First, the language used in the amendment is ambiguous and broad: there is no clear definition of what constitutes “cooking food”. Therefore, a fire burning even in the thick of a no-burn restriction is subject to the user’s definition, and only a claim that marshmallows were present would be needed to invoke the exemption. Second, the lack of a “non-commercial” designation for the exemption opens it to removing existing restrictions on restaurants. We were pleased when Representative Ward made an amendment on the House floor to limit the exemption to “non-commercial”. However, this language was removed once on the Senate floor, broadening the scope to “cooking food” in general. The Division currently regulates commercial food businesses and in doing so reduces emissions significantly. Removal of all commercial food regulations, entirely possible under the amendment, would cause significant and measurable increases in pollution.

There was a persistent misconception among legislators that the Division of Air Quality supported the amendment. We witnessed two incidents in which debate was closed after this erroneous statement was brought forth. The amendment undermines DAQ function in a number of ways, and as you are certainly aware, is not considered harmless by DAQ staff.

This bill codifies into state law a rule that will prevent the experts at the Division of Air Quality from performing its primary purpose. At this sensitive moment as we work together for attainment, such legislation, is ill advised.

Thank you, Governor, for your deep and continuing commitment to improving Utah’s air quality. Please contact us with any questions as you consider HB 65.


  • Rep. Mike Shultz
  • Sen. Stuart Adams


  • 1/5/2017 House received fiscal note 
  • 1/23/2017 to House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee
  • 1/26/2017 Favorable rec. 9-1-3, Nay: Rep. Briscoe
  • 2/9 Senate Natural Resources, favorable recommendation Nay: Sen. Iwamoto
  • 2/16 Passed 3rd reading Senate Calendar 25-3-1; Nays: Iwamoto, Debakis, Escamilla
  • 2/17 House Concurs 50-20-5.
  • 2/17 House to Senate for signature

Upcoming Hearings

  • Thursday, 1/26. 2:00 House Nat. Resources. State Capitol Building rm. 445. Agenda Audio
  • Thursday, 2/9 3:16 Senate Nat. Resources. State Capitol Building rm. 415 AGENDA

Additional Info

  • Position: OPPOSE
  • Bills: HB 065