Comments about ‘Utah activists call on lawmakers to address air quality’

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Published: Tuesday, Jan. 29 2013 7:45 p.m. MST

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Clinton, UT

So here is some verifiable information that may help this discussion.

1. Industry contributes to a very low percentage of pollution per year. The EPA heavily mandates and tracks the emissions from all industrial sources. These mandates have created an effort in industry to regulate these emissions very stringently. Industry is HEAVILY fined if they do not meet the guidelines and are rewarded if they exceed them.

2. Industry creates far more emissions when there are process upsets. To shutdown and start up industry in a short time you will create up 5 times the amount of emissions than you would just running these sites as tightly as they do now.

3. Who in this valley is willing to sell their homes and move to an apartment or condo closer to where they work? Mass transit doesn't work in the majority of the western US because we're too spread out. I use the Frontrunner on a consistent basis only because I'm in the minority of those in which it is as convenient to do so as it is to drive my car.

Provo, UT

@NedGrimley: the gas tax simply has to go up. It hasn't kept up with inflation, it doesn't cover even 1/3 of road construction costs, and it doesn't do anything to help road users pay the other costs of their driving esp. congestion and pollution. The huge effective subsidy to drivers distorts incentives. If you change people's incentives to better reflect the real costs to society, they will make wiser decisions.

Greg Mankiw, Romney's chief economic adviser, strongly supports phasing in an additional $1/gallon tax, as do most economists all across the political spectrum. Raising the gas tax would allow us to lower the taxes on productive activity (income, payroll).

Unfortunately it's hard to gather the political will for that third rail.

Other considerations: we should be using a cleaner fuel blend in winter (right now the feds mandate cleaner fuel in summer but not in winter, and refineries all retool twice a year to sell the few-cents-cheaper dirty stuff in winter), we should be putting more thought into urban planning and development to enable people to live near where they work and shop, and we should improve public transit.

USS Enterprise, UT

To "Pagan" unfortunately those stories don't really explain the air in Utah.

However, if you looked at the source of the data going back to the EPA report, Utah has short-term problems, not long term problems. Why look at long term solutions for short term problems?

If the air is bad for a few days, will that cause long term problems, or just a mild annoyance?

Go look at the EPA, and look at which cities have the worst year round pollution. You will not find Utah in the top 10.

To "BYU Track Star" LA has improved, but it is still #2 for cities with the worst year-round pollution.

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