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Comments about ‘Mayors join public fray over Wasatch Front air quality’

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Published: Thursday, Feb. 14 2013 5:55 p.m. MST

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high school fan
Huntington, UT

It is great that people believe that inversions can be deemed illegal and then they will magically go away. If you do not want inversions the only answer is to move the mountains.

Way of the Warrior
ARLINGTON, WA

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency might be a good resource for finding out how to control air pollution in the valleys of northern utah. Google it.

MapleDon
Springville, UT

Resolution is simple. Just get rid of the people. Radical environmentalists could set the example and leave first.

ManInTheMiddle
SANDY, UT

1. On red days, any private company that contributes more than 1% of Utah county's pollution must shut down.
2. On red days, a special gas tax will be levied at the pump. Said tax will be used to pay for the subsidy to provide free public transportation.

These ideas seem like a reasonable place to start. They create pain for industry and pain for residents.

toosmartforyou
Farmington, UT

Great.....more taxes.

Just because you charge more for gasoline doesn't mean people need any less of it. And it doesn't affect supply, either. Regardless of the price there's plenty of it available. So it isn't a true free market commodity.

Politicians only have one power and that is to TAX people. I say NO!!!! There must be other solutions than raising taxes again and again and again. It you could tax stupidity do you think suddenly there wouldn't be any more stupid persons? (Don't answer that.....)

My2Cents
Taylorsville, UT

Do these mayors all feel they owe it to their cities to blame it on someones else for the pollution? Do they really think taxation will reduce the pollution? The cities, mayors, governors "are" the problem of polluted inversions and they are all in denial for the solution.

Polluting the inversions of the Wasatch valley (Cedar City to Idaho border) is government denial. The inversions are not a harmful pollution, its what we put inside the inversion is the pollution. The inversion belt should become a no commercial build environmental hazard zone.

A new business moves to Utah we put it in the inversion zone so it can be taxed by government cities within the hazard zone, selfish greed. Rather that care about the pollution hazard, they let greed rule then complain to the state saying they aren't doing enough to clean the air.

Were I governor, the inversion zone would be cleared of industrial complexes. This law alone without any changes in taxation or extreme filtering would remove tens of thousands of vehicles and people and businesses to more environmentally safe areas of the state. Its a plus plus plan that eludes every government entity.

JacobW
SLC, UT

@toosmartforyou:

Raising the price of gasoline will absolutely make people need less of it. Just think about it: if you were paying twice as much as you currently are for gas, would you leave you car idling in the parking lot while you ran into 7-11? Would you take unnecessary trips? Of course not. One big reason to tax gas is to encourage its savings. And if gas was more expensive, people would carpool more, walk/bike instead of driving, ride public
transportion, and buy more fuel-efficient vehicles. This is Economics 101.

Kudos to the mayors for their efforts at improving our air.

toosmartforyou
Farmington, UT

@ Jacob W

Sorry, Econ 101 doesn't fit gasoline. It's not a guns/butter issue.

The pricing of gasoline isn't tied to supply and demand. The "demand" hasn't varied much in the last 30 days, yet prices are skyrocketing. Maverik and Sinclair lead the way and the others follow. I've had a manager at Smith's tell me he prices his fuel to match Maverik. Does that sound like Econ 101 or collusion? Sinclair is always at the forefront of higher prices and they get their crude from Wyoming, not overseas.

Some folks may curtail their driving with higher prices, but how much of that was observed during the inversion when prices were much higher than last year? And when prices fell for a few brief weeks were there suddenly packed highways with hundreds more vehicle trips every day? No, of course not.

I sold a V-8 pick-up truck and bought a car that got about 40% better gas mileage and did the cost of gas drop? Not one penny.

Get off this "raising gasoline taxes is our best solution" deception and come up with real solutions, not political ones for tree huggers. That's Reality 101.

Uncle Gadianton
Salt Lake City, Utah

If I remember correctly, Governor Huntsman implemented a four-day work week for state employees a few years ago, but the Legislature overruled the program. (For the record, the Legislature's action violated the Utah Constitution)

Wouldn't a four-day work week help reduce the amount of pollution?

toosmartforyou
Farmington, UT

@ Uncle G

For anyone that regularly does business with the State of Utah, the 4-day work week was a disaster. The private companies suffered a down-turn in productivity because of that arbitrary limitation. And the results weren't as great as everyone thought they would achieve.

I'd give the effort a D+ at best. F for not thinking it through, C for wanting to do something positive, averaging a D, which moves up to a D+ because people really tried to make it work. But like most of what government mandates without enough input, it failed. (Just like Uncle Sam and what Congress decides----same operating procedure, same results.)

What in Tucket?
Provo, UT

The cause of the inversion is nitrogen oxides from vehicles using gasoline and diesel. The solution is to have all vehicles use natural gas. It is a nice clean fuel, practically no nitrogen oxides,less CO2 than gasoline, it is cheap and it is ours. The problem is that converting a used vehicle to natural gas is expensive because those who do this work gouge the public. It is best if it is installed in Detroit. Second if the demand for natural gas grows will the cost go up. Diesel is easier to make than gasoline, but is more expensive. Figure that out. I think the supply of natural gas is so great the price will not rise.

1conservative
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT

Yesterday the state legislature killed a proposal to make tax credits available for CNG. No, they're NOT listening to the citizens who would like something/anything done.

Just asking people not to drive on bad air days doesn't seem to be working much.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

What In Tucket.

Agreed that natural gas is an excellent choice. But, we have the chicken and egg scenario. No one converts to Nat Gas cars cause theres no place to fill them, and no one builds filling stations cause there are not enough NG vehicles.

This is where the Govt can step in and help to fund NG filling stations.(heaven forbid) Just to get past the tipping point (and tax it a small amount to recoup the money spent)

I actually think the first place to do it would be the major corridors ( I 10 from Fla to Ca etc.

Give an incentive for 18 Wheelers to go NG first then go from there. Look at the pickens plan.

JacobW
SLC, UT

A couple things for @toosmartforyou:

- you're right about gas supply and prices not fitting Economics 101. Aside from supply and demand, speculation, hedging, and collusion all affect gas prices. And, obviously, so do taxes.

- that said, consumers' usage of gasoline, especially with regard to its pricing, definitely does fit Economics 101. (You said so yourself with your "some folks may curtail their driving with higher prices" comment.) I suggest you read up on the "substitution effect". In this case, walking, biking, carpooling, using public transportation, not driving at all, and driving more fuel-efficient cars are some of the substitutes for driving as it currently exists.

- I never said anything like "raising gasoline taxes is our best solution". My only point was that that raising gas taxes will affect gas usage.

MapleDon
Springville, UT

I just looked at the graph. We are definitely trending down, which is good. This year is not the norm, but an anomaly. Remember the Great Salt Lake pumps? Legislators could end up doing something as dumb as that. We don't use our wood fireplaces anymore. We drive much more eco-friendly cars. There aren't as many factories as there used to be. The only thing left is for us to leave. But there will still be an inversion each year.

VST
Bountiful, UT

@What In Tucket said, "The cause of the inversion is nitrogen oxides from vehicles using gasoline and diesel."

You have it just backwards Tucket.

The inversion (fog – moisture in the air) is caused by the geography of the Wasatch Front, which traps the colder air on the floor by the warm air above the cold air. When the wind does not blow on the surface of the floor, that fog stays trapped. In other words, we live in a punch bowl.

Then the nitrogen oxides mix with the fog to become smog (pollution).

VST
Bountiful, UT

@JacobW,

Unfortunately Jacob, your "substitution effect" will not work either – people (the masses) will not voluntarily change their transportation habits.

Until we totally get off of using petroleum driven vehicles, there will be no realistic solution. That will not happen tomorrow AND will take decades to solve.

applesnoranges24
Logan, UT

Either way, we're in limbo. They state in the article that they want to raise gas prices. However, they also state there is debate between putting the money towards mass transit or putting money towards roads. Improving road conditions won't do anything to decrease air pollution and unless UTA decides to cooperate on something (and the citizens decide to participate) putting the money towards mass transit isn't going to do anything either.

The way I see it, UTA just did a HUGE expansion of the FrontRunner line. If it's not as successful as they hoped for at the time, then why pump more money towards UTA? The only thing UTA could do with extra money at this point is provide free passes and/or reduce prices. Kennecott provided one free day pass to citizens that applied for it, but UTA has chosen not to do anything, except take in more money and change routing schedules.

NeilT
Clearfield, UT

Natural gas is an excellent idea. I have noticed CNG garbage trucks. County, city, and state gov't should start immediately converting their fleets to CNG. They could all refuel at a central location. They only exception would be emergency vehicles such as police and fire. What about traffic lights? A caller on KSL mentioned that Phoenix allows motorists to treat red lights as a four way stop during certain hours. Traffic lights should all be synchronized and busy intersections controlled by a computer or from a remote location. It is ridiculous to sit at a long light, idling and wasting fuel when you are the only vehicle in sight. Another idea is to give a tax credit to citizens and auto dealers who sell worn out vehicles for scrap. Similiar to cash for clunkers except much easier to implement.

Beaver Native
Garland, UT

I drove from Tremonton to Beaver a few weeks ago during an extended inversion. I expected the pollution to end by the time I hit Nephi, but it spilled over the passes all the way past Kanosh and some of it even spilled over into the Cove Fort area. The only place that had clean air was Beaver. Apparently, during the worst inversions, the pollution layer extends from somewhere in Idaho clear to Kanosh, and sometimes beyond.

Taking one measure isn't going to solve our pollution problem. It's going to take multiple measures. Bus rides are free in the Cache valley, yet during the inversions it often has the worst pollution in the nation. I like the idea of offering free transit - especially during inversions, but the masses first need to be motivated to use the transit system,something they aren't currently motivated to do. If transit was used more heavily,the cost per ride would decrease. The public would save in transportation costs by decreased vehicle usage. At least would be a drop in the bucket in reducing pollution. However, we also need to find ways to reduce air pollution in other ways.

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