Our Work

UPHE is working to improve the health and quality of life for Utah residents. Our activities include taking Utah’s polluter to court, as well as, empowering the public to effect change in their communities.

In Court

UPHE has filed an injunction to stop the expansion granted to the Holly Oil Refinery.  Even if we lose this case, our challenging of the permit already forced a much cleaner permit, much less pollution, than the DAQ was poised to approve.

UPHE is taking Kennecott to court for violating the Clean Air Act.  This is the first time that any public interest groups have taken the mining giant to court in Utah’s history.  The judge’s ruling is pending.

UPHE is appealing the expansion permit granted by DAQ to the Tesoro Refinery.

UPHE prepared detailed and heavily referenced court documents for legal proceedings, like the appeal of the permit for the Sevier coal plant, and state and federal regulatory proceeding like the NAAQS attainment status of counties in Utah.

UPHE created a brief in support of the EPA in a lawsuit challenging their designation of Box Elder and Tooele Counties as non-attainment.  The EPA, with UPHE’s help prevailed on that lawsuit.

UPHE has joined WildEarth Guardians in suing the EPA for failing to protect the residents of Vernal from the massive air pollution problem generated by the explosion of oil and gas drilling in the Uinta Basin.

Air Quality

UPHE is providing expertise, leadership and scientific back up to the residents of North Salt Lake in their battle to close the medical incinerator Stericycle.

UPHE killed the “Pet Coke” plant at Holly.  In Nov 2009, the EPA designated Wasatch Front counties as violating national air quality standards. The Utah DAQ approved a petroleum coke (the dirtiest fossil fuel there is) fired power plant within 5 miles of Salt Lake City. UPHE organized a town hall meeting, a protest hearing, a private meeting with the Governor and the financier of the project, Zions Bank, and ultimately got the project killed.

Chevron Refinery management has stated to a group of prospective oil engineers that they were spending hundreds of millions of dollars on new pollution controls because of the influence of UPHE on public opinion.

UPHE was the primary organization involved in organizing citizen opposition and preventing the city of Ogden from burning down over 40 homes as a cheap means of demolition.

We are helping residents exposed to open pit burning along the Wasatch Front and emissions from the ATK rocket fuel tests.

Residents throughout the state have contacted UPHE for help in stopping reckless and irresponsible pesticides spraying by commercial applicators.  Our efforts on their behalf are ongoing.

Helped the residents of Mt. Olympus convince UDOT to reduce the pollution impacts of a cement batching plant in their neighborhood.

Helped raise awareness of the environmental liabilities of developing the NW Quadrant of Salt Lake City, and the development has been tabled.

UPHE is helping other groups reign in the Geneva Gravel Pit at the Point of the Mountain.

Water Conservation

UPHE was one of the first Utah groups to challenge the notorious Las Vegas Water Grab.  Our phone campaign to the Governor was quite possibly the deciding factor in Governor refusing to sign the agreement.

Helped other local environmental groups defeat the notorious Skilink proposal. UPHE is now involved with other environmental groups in an aggressive campaign to help protect the critical watershed of the Wasatch Mountains from further development and ski resort expansion.


Held private “health and pollution” education sessions with Gov. Huntsman, Gov. Herbert, the Quorum of the Twelve of the LDS Church, numerous state legislators, the director of the Utah Public Health Department,  the Division of Air Quality, Mayors Becker and Corroon, business leaders, the Public Service Commission, the association of television weathermen, and the KSL editorial board.

UPHE originated the idea of “air quality alerts” on freeway message boards whose eventual implementation by the DAQ and

UDOT has resulted in a reduction of vehicle miles of 3-4% in preliminary studies.

We held numerous public education sessions that either contributed to, or in some cases provided the main impetus for the abandonment or mitigation of several specific, long term polluting projects, such as a proposed coal power plant in Sevier County and the reduction of the health impact of the planned Mountain View Corridor.

UPHE has been instrumental in eliciting the support of the Utah Medical Association in numerous issues of public health and the environment like the Las Vegas Water Grab.

Members of UPHE have been instrumental in helping the U. of Utah Medical School begin offering courses in public health and environment.

UPHE was one of the key groups to mount public opposition to HB477, the “kill GRAMMA” bill, that was eventually overturned by the legislature after widespread public outrage and the rally we helped organize on Capitol Hill.


UPHE has conducted numerous environment/public health seminars in libraries and university settings from Logan to Richfield, addressing topics from air pollution to climate change.  UPHE has become the “go to” environmental organization for radio, TV, and newspaper journalists seeking input on environmental and public health issues.
We organize an ongoing effort to provide a steady stream of audio, visual and print media coverage of the primary environmental/health issues affecting the state of Utah.   UPHE op-eds lens a voice to issues affecting the citizens of Utah.

Awards & Recognition

In 2007 UPHE received an award from the Utah Transit Authority for promoting mass transit.

UPHE has been congratulated and thanked by the EPA for helping defend some of their regulatory rulings.

Our Neighbors

We helped bring about the demise of numerous proposed coal plants in the Intermountain area, especially three large plants planned for Nevada, by emphasizing the consequences to public health.

UPHE has provided expertise and scientific testimony on behalf of residents opposing asphalt plants in California and waste incinerators in Pennsylvania, and wood burning in Austin, Texas.

UPHE has had numerous op-eds supporting environmental/health protection printed in newspapers in Oregon, Montana, Nevada, West Virginia, Michigan, and Kansas.

UPHE helped organize a sister organization, Kamloops Physicians for a Healthy Environment, for the primary purpose of fighting a proposed copper mine in Kamloops, British Columbia.

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