Mixed messages about air quality

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  • ingslc salt lake city, UT
    March 5, 2013 8:08 p.m.

    VST - Please note that the graphic on the daq website, which you refer to has no labels. Which pollutants are they measuring? Which geographic region are they describing? SLC? Wasatch Front? The whole state? Is this based on 24 hour averages? One hour averages? This matters. Perhaps industry is only 11% for the whole state, but that might be drastically different if we narrowed the focus to the Wasatch Front. Maybe industry put out less of one pollutant and cars more of another, so which pollutants they are counting also matters. But that information is not given. Whatever the numbers, All pollution matters in this limited airshed.

  • Prodicus Provo, UT
    March 5, 2013 4:03 p.m.

    Very easy for people to complain about industry causing all our problems. Not so easy to take responsibility and face up to the fact that single-occupant vehicles are the primary cause of pollution along the Wasatch Front (almost 60% of PM2.5). Major industrial sources like Kennecott, the refineries, etc are only ~10%. The other ~30% is homes, businesses, and small industry. (Source: DEQ.) We couldn't fix this by just targeting industry, even if we shut them down entirely and drove all those jobs out of state.

    Very easy for politicians like Herbert to say "let's all drive less!" and then do nothing of substance. Not so easy to actually take the (not always popular) measures necessary to change people's incentives to protect our future.

    We've got to take the politically difficult steps - higher gas tax, zoning and planning that discourage sprawl, infrastructural investments, etc- to help change the way people live and commute in this state or this already-disgusting situation will turn into a full-scale tragedy.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    March 5, 2013 1:34 p.m.

    While I agree with the intent of the piece, it really does take a one sided view. Never will I be called a "conservative" by Utah conservatives, but Industry has been doing a lot to reduce airborne particulate. Take Union Pacific. The last generation of locomotives are being replaced by much more economical and clean burning locomotives by EMD and GE. You don't have to go back very far in Salt Lake's history to remember the cloud of diesel soot that hovered over the UP yard. This upgrade has been hugely expensive to UP.

    The EPA is clamping down hard on the emissions that refiners can pump into the air. All you have to do is see how much noise the Koch brothers have been kicking up through their surrogate non-profits like American's (aka the Koch Brothers themselves) for American (again aka Koch Brothers) property.

    I say these things very carefully, because in full disclosure, the oil industry is responsible for about 80% of my income now days. But these companies are investing heavily in controls to avoid problems.

    So while you don't see it, industry is being asked to change how they do business.

  • Global Warner Provo, UT
    March 5, 2013 10:32 a.m.

    Well spoken, Ingrid. While Utah is known by some for its well-managed economy, it's never recognized for have logical leaders. The number of annual contradictions manifest by the governor's office and the legislature in truly astounding. I can assure you today none of them will even understand the logical fallacies you point out in your op-ed piece. We keep electing people to do the same old things, just like the movie, “Ground Hog Day.” Our children are mere fodder for Utah’s altars built to worship a form of capitalism that is disappearing cross the world. Now and in the future, citizen are increasingly demanding an ethical economy where business and government work together to actually improve the quality of community life, create more and better jobs, enjoy a balanced decision-making process with socially responsible corporations and humane values. To do these things requires a shift from short term thinking to having a long term vision for change.

  • dustmagnet heber city, UT
    March 5, 2013 7:44 a.m.

    Perhaps also - legislators and DEQ staff should either move within walking distance to work or bike to work!
    Please - anyone who hears this "nonsense" about how those who are trying to do something about the pollution get to their meetings or rallies - ask those pointing the fingers to explain what they are doing to lessen their pollution.
    Vehicle pollution is a concern and curtailing it will never be the only solution to this problem - Industrial/corporate pollution MUST be addressed ALSO and NOW.
    I believe that the only possible solution to this problem (due to the inaction, for whatever reason), of our State government and DEQ, is for EPA to retake control of environmental matters (permitting, etc.) in this State.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    March 5, 2013 7:17 a.m.

    An editorial from the Tribune claims that the Kennecott operations contribute about one third of the pollution to the Salt Lake Valley during one of our winter inversions.

    A Kennecott spokesman was on Radio West with Doug Fabrizio last week and he was slicing and dicing the numbers so cleverly that all I remember about Kennecott air pollution is that Rio Tinto sponsors a little league team in Herriman! It didn't help that Fabrizio was lobbing softballs over the plate for the Kennecott guy the whole hour.

    It would be nice to get accurate air pollution numbers we could all agree upon.