Comments about ‘My view: Refinery expansion hurts public health’

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Published: Wednesday, Dec. 18 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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blossom
sl, UT

Compelling and heartfelt! We're all suffering the consequences of our polluted environment!

cjb
Bountiful, UT

Is it, or is it not true, that refinery expansion will not increase pollution because new and better pollution control equipment will be installed? This is what I have read. If this is false, provide the evidence.

It all boils down to this.

higv
Dietrich, ID

Don't drive your car then. Location is the issue here. Thing is without oil how would food be grown and transported and how would we get anywhere?

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

Salt lake Valley air quality is increasingly becoming a drag on our economy. How on earth could you hope to recruit companies, and highly skilled workers to Utah after they get a dose of our very polluted air?

My wife and I are going to retire in a few years and we feel compelled to relocate, taking our state retirements, and small businesses with us!

10CC
Bountiful, UT

Wow.

We knew before that the Utah State Government was cozy with industry based on the ridiculous maneuverings and manipulations of Energy Solutions and their nuclear waste dump, but it's really disappointing to see how weak Utah is on issues that are (literally) much more proximate to our children's health.

I've noticed for years that the "flare offs" are often done at night, so it's not so obvious how big the cloud of black smoke is that is emitted directly upwind of our population centers. But sometimes the flame is so large that is reveals the size of the plume rising above it, even in the dark, almost like some low level guy at the refinery screwed up and let it be seen.

Night time discharges are disturbingly symbolic of how ridiculously poor our government is in protecting the population, especially the kids. Moench's group reveals in detail just how inept (at best) and complicit (at worst) our representatives are.

DAQ is either spectacularly incompetent, or they're complicit. There's no other explanation.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

It's jobs and domestic oil production. Public health is a socialist myth, like climate change.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Truth is... everything we do in this valley increases air pollution (not just this refinery upgrade). Every breath you take, every mile you drive, every light you turn on, every hour our power plants operate, every hour our factories operate, every shovel of earth they move at Kennecott, everything we do causes pollution.

I don't know why this expansion has become the lightning-rod for environmentalists. Awhile ago it was the legacy highway (and we survived).

We need to quit pretending that if we can stop this expansion the problem is solved. It's not. And we need to decide how far we need to go in the restriction direction to be enough to satisfy everybody. Must we dismantle the existing refineries? Close all the power plants and install windmills? Close all the factories (and put the people on welfare)? Ban all electric and gas powered vehicles (and just require everybody work from home)? What about the CO2 we exhail? That's a greenhouse gas, do we need to eliminate that to make them happy? Where is the line?

10CC
Bountiful, UT

For those of us who live in South Davis County, it's common to see the "flare offs" from refinery row, interestingly, mostly at night. Sometimes the fireballs are big enough to illuminate - even at night - just how large the black cloud of smoke is, from the underside, before it rises higher and settles over our population centers and thousands of children.

Thank you, Dr. Moench, for aggressively pushing for action on this issue.

If the Physicians' objections and presentations are accurate, Utahns who care about children should be pretty upset at the (apparent) easy ride our representatives have given the refineries.

cfb: what level of pollution is acceptable for you & your family? What should be done? Anything?

I'm impressed how clean ultra-low emission vehicles can be, but I wouldn't heat my house from their exhaust, which it seems to me is what we're settling for with the refineries belching great columns of black smoke only a few miles from thousands of kids.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "One of those faces belonged to my mother. Her picture is next to my computer. She died of pneumonia during one of our inversions."

I thought they teach this stuff in medical school, but for those that may not have been listening that day -- pneumonia is caused by a bacterium, or less likely, a virus. NOT by the weather. Most real people stopped believing that disease is spread by mysterious vaporous humours long ago.

For the record, the Holly expansion would bring the refinery under a more modern and better enforced cleanup regimen, invoking today's best practices, rather than those in effect in 1932, when the Holly refinery was built.

As anyone who has driven by the coastal California refineries can attest, today's clean-air regulations make it so passing motorists wouldn't even know there are refineries on the other side of those high walls, if it weren't for all the oil-company signs, touting their clean-energy messages.

Suggesting that Holly expansion would somehow cause more pneumonia is simply disingenuous, as the good Doc, and both members of his Docs Against Jobs organization, know.

cjb
Bountiful, UT

re Hutterite
American Fork, UT

Public health is a socialist myth?

++++

I don't hear stuff that dumb even on talk radio. Where did you come up with this?

RFLASH
Salt Lake City, UT

The article was good except for accusations about who is to blame for things! Some of the statements about DAQ are probably far from the truth! Show the proof concerning your accusations! People want to avoid the fact that it is our Republican Legislature that make the biggest decisions that effect our environment. They are the ones who pass laws. Guess what! If you don't know by now, somebody should throw a brick upside your head. Republicans do not like environmental laws! They are the ones who want to help big industry! That is where you need to look!

stevo123
slc, ut

Procuradorfiscal, You don't think pm2. does not exacerbate asthma ,and further complicate pneumonia?

10CC
Bountiful, UT

cfb:

I don't listen to talk radio, but I do know that there's an ongoing conflict in Texas between the EPA and the great defenders of liberty in the Lone Star State, where as you know, environmental regulations for corporations are mostly voluntary.

While most Texans and the Texas regulators were blaming everything and anything bad on the evil feds, pecan farmers noticed that their production had dropped off in huge amounts... and the cause wasn't Obama, or the feds, or the EPA, but upwind coal fired power plants, which was killing the pecan trees.

I know that Governor Herbert greatly admires his counterpart in Texas, Rick Perry, but hopefully this issue with the refineries won't be like the ridiculous tug-of-war between the federal government and Big Tobacco, where it took well over a decade to get a consensus that smoking cigarettes was in fact bad for human beings.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "Procuradorfiscal, You don't think pm2. does not exacerbate asthma ,and further complicate pneumonia?"

I think you mean PM 2.5.

There is likely some level at which PM 2.5 might affect either asthmatics or people with pneumonia. But we haven't seen levels even close to that since the late '50s. And, even then, it didn't seem to affect us much.

The current disingenuous blather about air quality completely ignores a time within the memory of a great many of us, when there really was an air quality problem in Utah, Salt Lake, and Davis Counties.

Back then, you could tell which part of the Valley you were in, blindfolded, by the familiar taste, smell, and mucous-membrane irritations. PM 2.5 concentrations were significantly higher in those days -- turned the snow black -- yet fewer people whined about asthma and pneumonia. We all got through it pretty well, before the members of Docs Against Jobs were even born.

Here's the kicker -- if the good Doc had proof that Holly killed his mom, he'd own the place.

He doesn't own it.

What in Tucket?
Provo, UT

The solution would be to go to natural gas for our autos. It is becoming increasingly popular for semi's. It seems it would require a lot of new stations. Idaho has no natural gas stations so you can't really drive to Portland on natural gas. You can do I-15 to California plenty of stations. Natural gas is much cleaner and half the price.

ingslc
salt lake city, UT

And the refinery's permit application did not have to include the increased diesel semi-truck traffic heading into south Davis County. The crude will arrive via diesel semi-truck. Diesel fumes are known to be even more toxic than regular cars. Imagine hundreds more diesel trucks driving into our valley during this week's inversion! shameful.

Miss Piggie
Phoenix, AZ

@procuradorfiscal:
"I thought they teach this stuff in medical school, but for those that may not have been listening that day -- pneumonia is caused by a bacterium, or less likely, a virus. NOT by the weather. Most real people stopped believing that disease is spread by mysterious vaporous humours long ago."

Most of that 'stuff' in the inversion air is... moisture. Notice how the trees are covered with white stuff (frost) in the am.

ljeppson
Salt Lake City, UT

"I don't know why this expansion has become the lightning-rod for environmentalists. " It has become a lightning rod for residents of South Davis who have been treated to refinery pollution, fugitive dust by the ton (literally) during the I-15 rebuild, the proposed (and thank God defeated) petcoke power plant, and the Stericyle menace. We've had enough!

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

"My view: Refinery expansion hurts public health"

versus

Consuming and burning the product of this refinery is just fine. How about we try by reducing demand for these products - and then this discussion becomes moot. I find it so ironical that people don't like the stuff and processes that enable their lifestyles..and yet are resistant to changing their lifestyle so that they are dependent on these evil refineries.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I don't want to sound uncaring because anybody's mother passing is a very sad thing. But blaming Pneumonia on the inversion... that seems like a stretch. I know inversions can make respiratory problems worse, but people die of pneumonia even when there's NOT an inversion. So I don't know that you can empirically blame all pneumonia deaths on the inversion.

That said, inversions are bad. But there's nothing we can do to stop them. But we can do something about pollution. We can't stop all factory/refinery construction. What we can do is change our behavior as a community, especially when inversions are present to minimize our contribution to the soup that will be stuck in the valley for days until the weather pattern changes.

We can't stop power plants, the Holley expansion, etc, just for inversion days. But we can change our driving behavior etc on inversion days. I say we start with what we CAN control... instead of just continuing our behavior and just complaining about what we CAN'T control.

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