Thousands rally to clear up Utah's polluted air


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  • Way of the Warrior Arlington, WA
    Jan. 26, 2014 11:18 p.m.

    Washington state implemented an effective program to help reduce pollution caused by commuting. Google "WSDOT Commute Trip Reduction". Our CTR program might be worth looking into for ideas that could help Utah as well.

  • Amy288 South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 26, 2014 11:03 p.m.

    I've been in the valley for 2 yrs now and from what I hear from people who have lived here their whole lives is that it is definitely worse than years ago. My eyes were burning last week from the pollution, I have an upper respiratory infection and haven't had one of those in over 20 yrs. One thing I don't understand is most cities/states have trip lights. How many minutes do I waste idling at a stop light with nothing coming from either direction. This annoys me not only for the time I waste (Utah lights are FOREVER LONG) and for the amount of exhaust pumping into the air.

  • Neanderthal Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 26, 2014 10:27 p.m.

    "Either Neanderthal has a sarcastic sense of humor, or he/she doesn't understand power generation and losses in the system."

    It would be stupid to not put something in front of the fans to generate power. Why let moving air go to waste? There is a slight problem, though. The people up in Park City et. al., would likely have fits with all that dirty air from the valley passing through their neighborhoods.

    "In using power to move air, then using the moving air to generate power, there will be a net loss of power, and where you harvest the remaining energy in the moving air, the pollution will collect."

    The added power to make the difference could come from solar panels someplace in the valley... or maybe the southwest desert where the sun shines alot... and at night from the moon (there certainly must be some useable energy in moonbeams).

    "Maybe point the fans straight up so the winds aloft can take the pollution away?"

    Now yer talkin'. But wait... there ain't no wind aloft in inversions, izer?

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    Jan. 26, 2014 9:01 p.m.

    Either Neanderthal has a sarcastic sense of humor, or he/she doesn't understand power generation and losses in the system.

    In using power to move air, then using the moving air to generate power, there will be a net loss of power, and where you harvest the remaining energy in the moving air, the pollution will collect.

    Maybe point the fans straight up so the winds aloft can take the pollution away?
    (I do have a sarcastic sense of humor, but it is a nice dream.)

  • Neanderthal Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 26, 2014 8:31 p.m.

    "The only way to completely get rid of the problem would be to level the mountains..."

    It has been said something to the effect that... if a person had the faith of a grain of mustard seed they could say to yon mountain remove yourself and it would be removed. Extremely Cheap way to solve any pollution problem.

    Actually, the answer is to put several huge (really huge) fans in the canyons to the east of town and suck the dirty air out of the entire valley.

    And you could put some power generating windmills in front of the fans to generate the electricity to run them. :)

  • Mr. Bean Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 26, 2014 8:20 p.m.

    "We live here because we love the mountains. We love the scenery here. And if you can't see it, why stay?"

    With mountains comes trapped smog. If you don't like smog, suggest you move to Kansas where Dorothy lived. The wind will blow the smog away... but perhaps your house as well.

    @LovelyDeseret Gilbert, AZ:
    "I suggest Salt Lake Valley and Utah Valley buy out all factories and stop more from being built."

    In which case, unemployed Utahns would have to move to Gilbert. You'd have to move over to make room.

    @SLC Philosopher:
    "Much of the cost to the state of reducing pollution could easily be financed through directed taxes..."

    I'm sure that most Utahns in the valley would disagree. The state now takes a lion's share of the cost of gas through taxes as it is.

    "We know most of our pollution comes from motor vehicles..."

    Then those people should live closer to their work. It's just plain stupid to live in Utah Country and drive to Salt Lake City to work.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    Jan. 26, 2014 8:12 p.m.

    The air is bad. Let's all drive down to the capitol and demand that the legislature fix it.

    What an insane idea. There is no billowing pollution coming from the State capitol. It is all of us creating the pollution. Get rid of all the people and problem solved.

    Or, realize we live in a bowl, and when the air is stagnant, drive less, and don't waste trips running to the capitol to demand they fix something they can't fix.

  • Spydee Murray, UT
    Jan. 26, 2014 12:15 p.m.

    I have read several comments about not living in Utah due to the air pollution.
    It is not the entire state that has the problem. Many communities in Utah that are not subject to the inversion caused by a valley surrounded by mountains do not suffer from this problem.

    The only way to completely get rid of the problem would be to level the mountains (think what that would do to your taxes!).

    That said, we all can and should work to idle our cars less, use public transit when we can, and pass laws that make good compromise between air quality and jobs.

  • Red Smith American Fork, UT
    Jan. 26, 2014 12:09 p.m.

    No More Houses/Businesses/Industry on the Wasatch Front.

    The Wasatch Front air is sick, because of congestion, cars going 75 mph on road to limitless destinations to get a burger, $Billion dollar road projects in the wrong locations with sick airshed, and basically very poor planning.

    Having the dirtiest air in the nation in the highest birthing area of the nation is just plain stupid. The cause is sick air is the Wasatch Front Valley Bowl. Our beautiful Wasatch Mountains created a bowl limiting the amount of people that can live in its Valley.

    The carrying capacity of Wasatch Front Valley airshed has exceeded its natural carrying capacity for people making grandpa, grandma, mom, dad,children, cats/dogs sick.

    What is the point of a deluxe education system, modern buildings, and ipad education if the mothers of students pull their children from school to literally save their lives because of dirty air caused by over development along the Wasatch Front Valley?

    We can see the dirty air we breath. It's time to reduce mph for on the highways, stop UDOT projects which increase car counts, stop building permits. Nature created an area which will not tolerate an unlimited population.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 26, 2014 10:07 a.m.

    Had clients in town skiing last weekend. Although they wanted to tour temple square downtown they refused to come down from the mountains because of the air pollution. People are begining to view Salt Lake as not just a "Mormon town" but as a place with terrible air pollution.

  • wYo8 Rock Springs, WY
    Jan. 26, 2014 10:05 a.m.

    Was Al Gore at the rally

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Jan. 26, 2014 9:45 a.m.

    Unless we stop driving, stop heating our homes and businesses, and close all of the manufacturing, refineries, malls, etc. the pollution will continue. Very few malls are connected to convenient public transportation. One example, from where I live, it would take over 3 hours to stop by "the mall" to pick up an item, if I took public transportation. The buses are slow, infrequent, and frankly, add to the pollution more than they save because the buses are almost ALWAYS empty. People will not take clunky public transportation in a way that will even dent pollution. It isn't the answer.

    I used to take public transportation to work, but when front-runner started operating, I stopped. My commute went from 45 minutes each way to an hour and a half. I am now back on the roads. UTA is a political machine made to support its own existence, not a vehicle to serve the public, reduce congestion, or reduce pollution. My bet? I'll bet FrontRunner and Trax have net added to pollution and congestion (waiting on trains, extra traffic lights, etc.) on the Wasatch Front.

  • FelisConcolor North Salt Lake, UT
    Jan. 26, 2014 9:20 a.m.

    'Dr. Kent Di Fiore, an oncologist with Utah Cancer Specialists, said lung cancer used to be limited to smokers, but is now being diagnosed in Utahns with "frightening regularity."'

    I wonder if the good doctor can explain this discrepancy: According to the latest data from the National Cancer Institute, Utah has the lowest lung cancer rate in the nation -- and it's not even close. In addition, the data show the incidence rate is decreasing; it fell by 0.8% during the last data period of 2006-2010.

    What is more interesting is that Cache, Davis, and Utah counties have incidence rates which are significantly lower than the state average, despite their propensity to have high particulate pollution.

    Dr. Di Fiore may be seeing lung cancer cases with "frightening regularity" -- not surprising, since he is a cancer specialist -- but the actual epidemiological surveillance data tell a vastly different story.

    (Curious persons can Google "State Cancer Profiles NCI" for more information)

  • embarrassed Utahn! Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 26, 2014 9:20 a.m.

    Isn't 10 years taken off your life a "big deal"???

  • desert Potsdam, 00
    Jan. 26, 2014 8:46 a.m.

    Why should it cost money ?
    A tough ruling on filters and preventive measures in private and industrial sectors will do.

    The scientific evidence is lacking also. As far as we can see on these articles.
    It is not a helpless situation. Question is who keeps quiet and for what reason !

  • Trapped in Utah heber city, UT
    Jan. 26, 2014 4:01 a.m.

    Why, in the previous comments, are people talking about raising taxes to stop pollution? What is needed is legislation and sensible permitting of businesses to improve air quality.
    Yes the inversions will always be here, but the pollution that builds up because of these inversions is the issue. What it was like in the past is irrelevant. Air monitoring, now, is saying that there are currently unhealthy levels of pollution periodically, this is what needs to be addressed.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    Jan. 25, 2014 10:21 p.m.

    If air pollution did exist, it would cost jobs to get rid of it.

    However, there is no such thing as air pollution in a capitalist nation.

    Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity as well as Conservatives on Drudge have said so.

    Only communist, socialist, anti religious China has air pollution.

    Why would Conservatives try to get rid of something that doesn't exist?

  • Lifelong Republican Orem, UT
    Jan. 25, 2014 10:12 p.m.

    As much as idealistic people think mass transit is the answer, people just won't take it. Our cities weren't built for it. People won't wait for a bus. Trax is nice in downtown if you work there but what if you don't?

    Taxing people won't make one bit of difference. If we have people in the valley, we are going to be fighting pollution.

  • Nosea Forest Grove, OR
    Jan. 25, 2014 10:07 p.m.

    The air pollution is the reason our family moved away from Salt Lake City also, and will never move back to the front range because of the health problems it caused us when we lived there.

  • Orem Parent Orem, UT
    Jan. 25, 2014 9:38 p.m.

    Unless you would like to demolish the mountains on each side of the valley, we will always have winter inversions. That is what you get when you settle in a valley.

  • SLC Philosopher Taylorsville, UT
    Jan. 25, 2014 9:20 p.m.

    I grew up in Cedar City, before moving to Salt Lake. I can certainly second the fact that rural Utah doesn't need, and shouldn't have to pay for change.

    However the Wasatch front desperately does, and with most of the states population it certainly makes sense to use limited taxes to help support it.

    Much of the cost to the state of reducing pollution could easily be financed through directed taxes that will also reduce pollution and help reduce economic externalities.
    For example imposing a gas tax in counties that suffer from heavy pollution, and indexing that tax to inflation would both provide money to finance affordable transit, improve roadways to reduce congestion, and give incentives for people to choose more fuel efficient vehicles and car pool. The size of the tax could be based on the level of pollution in each county and adjusted annually as needed with a 6-12 month phase in.

    We know most of our pollution comes from motor vehicles, and peoples choices on fuel efficiency is directly related to the price of gas. Come on legislature this is not rocket science!

  • riverofsun St.George, Utah
    Jan. 25, 2014 9:03 p.m.

    Did they all drive to get there today?

  • LovelyDeseret Gilbert, AZ
    Jan. 25, 2014 8:49 p.m.

    This is the biggest reason I won't live in Utah. The air pollution.

    The people are great, the laws are family and business friendly, and it is beautiful.

    The respiratory problems are not worth it.

    I suggest Salt Lake Valley and Utah Valley buy out all factories and stop more from being built. Next make the air pollution fines outrageous and exponential.

    For the good of the people.

  • Thinkin\' Man Rexburg, ID
    Jan. 25, 2014 8:42 p.m.

    Salt Lake's air has been getting cleaner as the years go by. Exactly what are these folks protesting? Are they against living in closed valleys? Are they against high pressure inversions? And how do they propose to fix those?

  • lovelyorchid taylorsville, UT
    Jan. 25, 2014 8:34 p.m.

    I recently moved here to Utah in March 2013. Since I have been living here, I have been experiencing infections that I have never had before I arrived. The air here is very filthy. I have to wear a mask whenever I go outside. At work it is even worse, It is filthy and dirty in the post office where I work. I am now on FMLA because I am fighting an eye infection that was caused by filth in the air. Where does it end! I have put in a transfer to another state. I cannot breathe here. I use an air cleaner in my apartment. I hope I can leave here soon.

  • Sal Provo, UT
    Jan. 25, 2014 7:52 p.m.

    I often took mass transit living overseas. Here I would have to walk about three miles to get to a bus stop. I don't want to see higher taxes though. I would rather the legislature cut spending elsewhere to improve air quality.

    We also need to calm down. We only average about 21 days of really bad air. I'll take SLC over Los Angeles with its year round bad air days.

  • collegestudent25 Cedar City, UT
    Jan. 25, 2014 7:38 p.m.

    The pollution doesn't bother me. I don't live in the salt lake valley. It is not a Utah problem. I know it needs to be taken care of but throwing money at it won't neccesarily fix it.

  • ingslc salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 25, 2014 6:49 p.m.

    Really amazing rally! The legislature ignores its people at its peril. Thanks to the Moms and the Docs for the great work they do.