Gov. Cox wants Utah magnesium refinery added to list of polluters

Feb 28, 2023, 4:00 PM
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox wants the Environmental Protection Agency to include a magnesium refinery in ...
FILE: Smog blankets the Salt Lake Valley during an inversion, as seen from Little Cottonwood Canyon on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox wants to add a magnesium refinery to a list of heavy polluters. (Kristin Murphy /Deseret News)
(Kristin Murphy /Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox wants the Environmental Protection Agency to include a magnesium refinery in Utah’s Northern Wasatch Front ozone nonattainment area.

The governor said that including the Tooele County-based U.S. Magnesium in the nonattainment area would allow the Utah Division of Air Quality to help address the region’s pollution problems.

In a press release, Gov. Cox said that including the Utah magnesium refinery on the Great Salt Lake’s southwest boundary would give the state more tools to fight pollution.

“Utah has made significant strides in improving air quality over the past 10 years, but as our state continues to grow, we need to begin to look more strategically at opportunities to continue this trajectory,” Gov. Cox said in a press release. “This intentional approach gives us a focused range of tools that align with the outcome we all want – cleaner air and a better quality of life for Utahns.”

Ashley Sumner with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) touched on what that means.

“This particular area in question is not meeting air quality standards for ozone emissions,” said Sumner. 

U.S. Magnesium responds

Last month a National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA) study claimed the Utah magnesium refinery could be responsible for up to 25% of winter pollution build-up, citing heavy chlorine and bromine emissions.

Further, Sumner says making U.S. Magnesium part of this nonattainment area would allow DEQ to help.

“This will essentially give us a broader range of tools to be able to implement and work with U.S. Magnesium to implement further emission reductions,” said Sumner. 

However, U.S. Magnesium President Ron Thayer said the study was “totally erroneous.” And that they are still waiting on the state to contact them about the study.  

Additionally, Thayer refutes the study which claims that U.S. Magnesium could contribute up to 25% of all pollution buildup during winter inversions. The EPA has 18 months to make a final decision on the governor’s request.

Related reading

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories


Rain barrels...
Britt Johnson

Utah Rivers Council selling discounted rain barrels as effort toward water conservation

SALT LAKE CITY — People can save thousands of gallons just by collecting water in rain barrels. A program by the Utah Rivers Council is selling rain barrels at a discount right now. It hopes that more Utahns will embrace the use of rain barrels. Collecting rainwater at home has more of an impact than […]
1 day ago
Brine Shrimp...
Ben McGonnell

Brine shrimp officially named Utah’s state crustacean

SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Cox signed legislation naming the brine shrimp as Utah’s state crustacean. Specifically, the small crustaceans known as brine shrimp inhabit the salty waters of the Great Salt Lake. Brine Shrimp eggs or ‘cysts’ are harvested by private companies and used as food for fish and commercially grown shrimp. The harvesting […]
1 day ago
truck crash big cottonwood canyon...
Samantha Herrera and Lindsay Aerts

UDOT truck veers into Big Cottonwood Canyon canal, no water contamination suspected

A crash in Big Cottonwood Canyon had authorities cleaning up a canal in the canyon. Authorities say there's no threat to the water.
1 day ago
Sanpete Search and Rescue Team...
Ben McGonnell

Sanpete Search and Rescue extract hikers from slot canyon

The Sanpete Search and Rescue (SAR) team carried out another successful slot canyon rescue operation on Saturday morning.
1 day ago
Spring gets off to a rocky start. This week shows wet weather and colder than usual temps. (KSL.com...
Adam Small

More winter weather for the first day, week of spring

Spring may be officially here but wet weather and colder than normal temperatures are expected for this week.
1 day ago
(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Angel Moroni atop The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-d...
Ben Winslow, FOX 13

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says it plans more Great Salt Lake, water conservation measures

The Church is looking at properties and water shares it owns in the counties that surround the Great Salt Lake for future donations.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...
BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.
Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a new winter activity? Try skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five common causes of Cervical Cancer – and what you can do to lower your risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get ready for fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 easy Christmas dinner ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Gov. Cox wants Utah magnesium refinery added to list of polluters