Published: Monday, Oct. 28 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT
Appointing a clean air panel at this time is the very height of absurdity.
Recommendations cannot be made until we know where the most severe air pollution
is, and the nature of those pollutants. This is not possible because of the
hopelessly underfunded air monitoring system. I believe this by design because
many interests simply don't want the facts known. First, beef up the air
monitoring system big time. Get data. Go from there.
The opinion of the Editorial Board is that, "25 years later, air quality is
still generally poor, and getting worse, especially during temperature
inversions." Thankfully, the Board is wrong. Data from Utah's numerous
air monitors show that 1) the air in the Wasatch Front is generally quite clean
(we are well below the annual average standards for all pollutants); and 2)
although we do have stable periods when pollution levels climb, the peak
concentrations during those periods have steadily declined for decades. What the
data also show is that ambient concentrations in pristine areas continue to edge
upward in all areas of the West - likely due to uncontrolled pollution coming
from China, since emissions have decreased in the U.S. dramatically over the
same period.As for giving this new committee "authority" for
air quality issues, there is already an Air Quality Board with statutory
responsibility to make laws to clean the air. I suppose this new panel will be
making suggestions to that Board for changes to existing laws and policies that
are needed.So, the air is getting better. What is increasing is not
pollution levels, it public awareness, and editorial opinions not based on fact
"Data from Utah's numerous air monitors..." I am familiar with the
air monitoring system. "Numerous" does not describe it. When I worked
at DEQ there were about 30 air monitoring stations. Most of the state is not
monitored. Most of the Wasatch Front is not monitored. Only a restricted
number of pollutants are monitored. Air pollution is a local matter. The
network needs to be much more dense.
Too bad the Editors at the DN missed the news letter "Air Quality
Newsletter—2008" put out by Wasatch Front Regional Council. They show
that we have less pollutants being put into the air.The other
problem is that we don't have any quantifiable data showing that the short
term exposure to the pollutants in Salt Lake has any lasting health detrements.
Think of it like a rock concert. You may come out with ringing ears, but you
are ok in a day or so. You can go to those concerts every few months with no
lasting effects. So, does a similar thing exist for pollution? If it is bad
for a week, does any damage reverse itself over the next few weeks of good
Re: RedShirtCalTech - In pollution monitoring, if you aren't looking for
it (a particular chemical) you won't find it.
To "marxist" in science you can't determine long term exposure
problems if you only have short term exposure measurements.What
chemicals have they only recently started to monitor?If we only
recently started to monitor certain airborn chemicals, how do we know what they
were historically so that we can determine if pollution levels are rising or
falling over the long term.
I don't think we should do anything.Having businesses be
penalized isn't fair. They have a right to corrupt, pollute, and destroy
all they want.Let the free market decide. Let businesses regulate
themselves. Besides, what's more important? Clean air and water or money?
"What chemicals have they only recently started to monitor?"
There's more in the air than particulates, ozone, and SO2 (the common
stuff). There are local pools of industrial chemical aerosols of various types
- the only way to catch these is with sporadic stack tests - entirely
inadequate. All of us do not know what we are being exposed to in air, water,
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