Ensuring Everyone’s Following the Rules
The easiest way to keep our air clean is to minimize the amount of pollution entering our atmosphere. The Clean Air Act requires agencies such as Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality to issue permits to any facility that releases pollution into the atmosphere. To protect our air, ICL reviews—and if necessary provides input on—every air permit issued in the state. At times we also work with facilities that should have an air permit but for some reason don’t.
Reviewing permits isn’t the most exciting part of the job, but it’s key to keeping the air you breathe clean. Without air permits, we would have no idea the type and amount of pollutants that are entering our atmosphere. This basic information is critical to protecting our air quality.
Meet the New Regulator —You!
It’s important that agencies responsible for regulating pollution do their job appropriately, but you can help, too. For example, do you know of a business that works hard to reduce their air emissions? Maybe they have a fleet of electric vehicles, or they’ve invested in cleaning equipment to reduce the amount of pollution coming from their facility. When you see businesses go the extra mile to help protect your clean air be sure to show your support for all their hard work and let them know you appreciate their investment in clean air.
You can do more. There are hundreds of facilities throughout the state that have air permits. If a facility is following the limits in their permit you shouldn’t even notice them. However, if you walk past a building and can smell foul odor or see an abnormally large amount of emissions coming out of a chimney then chances are things aren’t quite working right.
What You Can Do
We all share the responsibility of protecting the quality of our air. You can help ICL by remembering this phrase:
If you see something—or smell something—then say something about it.
If things seem off, call DEQ’s Air Quality team at 208.373.0502 and let them know what you’re witnessing by filing a formal complaint. By speaking up, DEQ will be required to check in on the facility and make sure they’re operating according to their permit. This simple step will go a long way in keeping you and your community safe from unhealthy levels of air pollution.