Published: Wednesday, Feb. 6 2013 8:00 p.m. MST
In an earlier comment I compared air pollution to robbery and drunk driving.
The differences between pollution and crime that make the comparison facetious
account for the lack of political will and the difficulty of finding a policy
solution. With robbery or DUIs, there is a single perpetrator with a single
action that is directly attributable to tangible individual harm. A law
penalizing the action (robbing, drinking) can easily affect individual behavior
(decision to rob or drive drunk) and prevent or reduce the harm.With
the inversion, the problem is created by tens of thousands of small individual
decisions and the harm, while measurable and linked, is less direct. An
emphysema death from the inversion cannot be tied to any one person's
decision to drive that day, nor does any one person's decision to drive/not
drive appreciably affect the odds of someone dying of emphysema. The harm is
diffuse and the product of collective behavior. You can’t simply penalize
driving, say, to reduce the harm, because each individual will rebut that THEIR
driving isn’t killing anyone. It also doesn't help from a policy
standpoint that the conditions that create inversions are intermittent and
There is also the problem of the overwhelming entitlment society we have created
that means I am entitled to drive my car any day I want, and justify it by
saying that doing something else is just too darn inconvenient. It must be
someone else's responsibility to resolve the issue. Certainly isn't
mine and I shouldn't have to expend any more effort than to complain about
it. (Where's my sarcasm font?)
All new state vehicles should be required to run on natural gas. Detroit should
be encouraged to sell some vehicles fixed to use natural gas and not cost an arm
and a leg. We have plenty of natural gas right here in Utah, abundant, cheap,
and wonderfully clean as it has only a tiny fraction of nitrogen oxide
emissions. Maybe other western states could also go to requiring natural gas
for their new vehicles. Perhaps the state could arrange a garage to do natural
gas conversions. I know one man did his for $1500. If the cost could be kept
down to a reasonable level the savings on gas let's say $750 per 10,000
miles would soon pay off in short order. More private owners would want natural
gas too. None of the other solutions seem very practical to me. Front Runner
and light rail require large state subsidies to keep running.
I drive for UTA. Making transit free wouldn't help much. Many riders
already have a monthly passs or a pass issued by their employer or college they
attend. I can't think of a single post secondary school along the wasatch
front that doesn't issue their students a bus pass. Some public schools
such as West High issue students monthly bus passes. UTA now has hybrid buses
in their fleet. I have noticed garbage trucks powered by Natural Gas. Grear
idea. The governor should seriously converting most state vehicles into natural
gas or propane. Counties and cities should so the same. The only exception
would be police cruisers. Come on Governor show some leadership on this issue.
@Dave D Salt Lake City is only the 123rd biggest city in the United States,
with the biggest cities being 30-40 times its size, and yet we are supposed to
believe that our air quality being the worst in the nation is solely caused by
man alone? What then is so different about how we live in Utah that causes so
much more pollution per capita?This reminds me of a demonstration I
witnessed in class about soil conservation. A map was placed at the front of
the class with percentages of soil erosion in each state. It was quickly
discovered that Arizona was off the charts in soil erosion compared to other
states and the teacher asked students to discuss why Arizona seemed to be having
such a problem with soil erosion. The conversation quickly turned to
discussions of how laissez faire attitudes in conservative states created so
many environmental problems. At the end of the class the teacher revealed that
the reason Arizona was ranked so high in soil erosion was because the Grand
Canyon was in that state.
while geology has formed the "bowl" - people are putting the pollution
in the bowl!
Tax the polluters and offer income tax credits for "green".Polluters should pay more due to the increased costs of monitoring their
pollution, health care costs, etc.Those who convert to electric heat,
electric cars, etc should get a tax credit. Money talks. If it pays
to be energy efficient and green, and costs more to pollute, it will work.Why is the state allowing open burning? Why are they not requiring
contained burning with air scrubbers? Why are more pollution control systems in
industry not being required by the State?Why is the State granting
permits for businesses to EXPAND polluting activities? How can the pollution
ever be reigned in when the State is doing this?
Brave Sir Robin:You took the word right out of my mouth, thanks. If
I was going to a rally for clean air, I would ride public transit up the hill.
Or maybe that was a green burn day they rode up in their personal vehicle eh?
If you are for clean air, buy a 100% CNG powered car. We bought our
first one about six years ago for $3500 The state was offering a $2500 tax
credit. We figured we were not out much if it didn't work out.Thank-you Governor Herbert for keeping that tax credit in place. We own four
now.All are Honda Civics. They are not swanky. But "sometimes
you need to make sacrifices for the environment." At first it was a pain.
My wife wanted to go back to a gasoline. But we got a good feeling knowing that
we were doing SOMETHING to help. CNG is much cleaner than gasoline and diesel.
CNG is a locally sourced fuel that keeps money and jobs here as opposed to
funding countries that do not like America. It is also cheaper than gasoline or
diesel. I am told that the exhaust from my car is actually cleaner than the air
in Salt Lake.State government could do more. But how are YOU
helping?Or, as Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do
for you, ask what you can do for your country."
DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.— About comments