To "Pagan" unfortunately those stories don't really explain the air
in Utah.However, if you looked at the source of the data going back
to the EPA report, Utah has short-term problems, not long term problems. Why
look at long term solutions for short term problems?If the air is
bad for a few days, will that cause long term problems, or just a mild
annoyance?Go look at the EPA, and look at which cities have the
worst year round pollution. You will not find Utah in the top 10.To
"BYU Track Star" LA has improved, but it is still #2 for cities with the
worst year-round pollution.
@NedGrimley: the gas tax simply has to go up. It hasn't kept up with
inflation, it doesn't cover even 1/3 of road construction costs, and it
doesn't do anything to help road users pay the other costs of their driving
esp. congestion and pollution. The huge effective subsidy to drivers distorts
incentives. If you change people's incentives to better reflect the real
costs to society, they will make wiser decisions.Greg Mankiw,
Romney's chief economic adviser, strongly supports phasing in an additional
$1/gallon tax, as do most economists all across the political spectrum. Raising
the gas tax would allow us to lower the taxes on productive activity (income,
payroll). Unfortunately it's hard to gather the political will
for that third rail.Other considerations: we should be using a
cleaner fuel blend in winter (right now the feds mandate cleaner fuel in summer
but not in winter, and refineries all retool twice a year to sell the
few-cents-cheaper dirty stuff in winter), we should be putting more thought into
urban planning and development to enable people to live near where they work and
shop, and we should improve public transit.
So here is some verifiable information that may help this discussion.1. Industry contributes to a very low percentage of pollution per year. The
EPA heavily mandates and tracks the emissions from all industrial sources. These
mandates have created an effort in industry to regulate these emissions very
stringently. Industry is HEAVILY fined if they do not meet the guidelines and
are rewarded if they exceed them. 2. Industry creates far more
emissions when there are process upsets. To shutdown and start up industry in a
short time you will create up 5 times the amount of emissions than you would
just running these sites as tightly as they do now. 3. Who in this
valley is willing to sell their homes and move to an apartment or condo closer
to where they work? Mass transit doesn't work in the majority of the
western US because we're too spread out. I use the Frontrunner on a
consistent basis only because I'm in the minority of those in which it is
as convenient to do so as it is to drive my car.
Clearly something must be done! Here are some ideas:1. Tear down the
mountains so that pesky pollution doesn't have a valley to accumulate
in.2. Excavate Toole/Grantsville (or maybe Park City, since it is
downwind) so that their elevation is low enough all the pollution gets trapped
there, instead of the Salt Lake valley.3. Advertise the problem far and
wide with as much fanfare as possible. Once enough people have been driven away
by the bad air things should improve.Good luck, Utah!
First of all - SLC doesn't have a pollution problem, it has a major weather
problem that causes a pollution problem a couple times a year. That said, when
an inversion is present, woodsmoke is a major contributor to the smog in the
valley. One house burning wood for heat puts out as much particulate pollution
as several hundred homes burning gas or oil. We have no burn days in
the summer, why not no-burn days in winter when there's an inversion? I know people like to get a fire going and keep the house warm for
cheap, but cheap for those people comes at a cost to everyone else. Use natural
gas or oil heat like evryone else. Or get a low-emission woodstove that uses
expensive catalytic converter technology to remove a lot of the particulate
matter woodburning spews into the air. However you want to deal with it, wood
is a major problem when the weather is bad.
As a young Baby Boomer I remember in the late 50s visiting my Grandparents in
Montebello. A surburb in East Los Angeles. They had this strange structure in
their backyard. My Father explained thats where Grandpa/Grandma burned their
trash. If L.A. can solve its notorious smog problems with a booming population,
its been a decades long battle. Certainly Northern Utah can do the same. Be
grateful you don't have Bejing's Smog problems.
Speaking as a business owner, I would never relocate to SLC to choke on the
filthy air. So those of you who think it's a reasonable price to pay as a
sacrifice to business may not understand that filthy air drives away business
owners who have no interest in breathing it.
I know...let's tax everyone throughout the year to build up a no-pollute
fund. Then on inversion days we can pay people to not pollute. We could give
people money to stay at home and not drive their cars. We could pay Kennecott to
shut down and pay their people to sit around and play cards. The air would be
much cleaner.Even though that sounds like the typical liberal
solution to a problem, they would never go for it because it would mean giving
tax money to businesses like Kennecott. It's much better to lobby the
government to punish polluters instead and build up yet another wealth
re-distribution plan in which the bureaucrats and activists get more money and
I'm curious to know what the suggestions are from those who are blaming
those blasted Republicans for our annual inversions. What is it that you feel
the all powerful Legislature should do .. be specific .. that would resolve the
problem?I'm not trying to blow off the problem (excuse the pun
based on my earlier post) I'm just interested to know if you have some
serious suggestions, or is it just another reason to throw stones?
Let's start by banning diesel pick up trucks.
Yes, lets make a law to change the weather and prevent inversions. How about we
build giant fans on Antelope island to blow the inversion out of the valley? Or,
we could build a giant straw to space to suck out the bad air. Oh, Oh, I know,
how about we build domed cities so we do not have to worry about inversions ever
again? This winter inversion has been here since before the pioneers
arrived in the 1840's. Are we to believe that the Utes were driving SUVs
around but hid them when the Mormons showed up?
I'm puzzled as to why we wait till the air quality gets bad before we
declare a red day and ban wood burning etc. The weather patterns that trigger
an inversion are well known and predictable. When we enter an inversion period,
we should be doing all we can to lower emissions from day one of the inversion-
not waiting till day two or three when the build up has reached toxic levels.
When forecasts predict an extended inversion we should be adopting more extreme
measures. Sorry, but if shutting down some industrial plants a few days every
January results in better air quality for the million or so who live along the
Wasatch Front, I'm all for it. We know the sources of air pollution during
inversions, the question is do we have the will to do whatever is necessary to
protect our health. A more concerted public effort to limit auto miles could be
huge- we all drive and we all must breath the air- if everyone cut their mileage
even 10% during inversions it would help. Instead, we complain about the air-
then start the car and drive out as usual.
@larry: yes, Kennecott and the refineries do contribute to the pollution, but if
you compare to a dozen years ago, their particulate output has dropped
substantially, Geneva Steel has shut down, but the smog has gotten much worse.
The primary problem is rapidly increasing tailpipe emissions. We
spend over a billion dollars every year on road construction in this state, less
than a third of which comes from the gas tax. This tremendous government subsidy
encourages inefficient development (urban sprawl, building new cities in the
middle of nowhere rather than redeveloping underused land close to where the
jobs are) and inefficient transportation choices (long single-occupant vehicle
commutes). On top of that huge fiscal boondoggle, road users also don't
bear the proportionate social costs of externalities, such as congestion and
pollution, associated with their driving.Until road users bear the
real costs of their driving, tailpipe emissions will continue to skyrocket.
If Bangerter were still Governor, he could build giant fans to blow the
inversion into the West desert.
I was thinking: How about if we build some giant fans in the west desert to blow
all the gunk out of the valley. We can then employ people and spend money to
maintain them when we don't need them. giggles...
There isn't much hope for the Salt Lake Valley air pollution problem for a
simple reason, much of the pollution comes from Kennecott's mining
operation, and the refineries north of Salt Lake City. The Utah legislature has
ZERO backbone when it comes to standing up to business. My wife, and
I, both run small businesses and we are seriously considering relocating to get
out of this toxic air!
Salt Lake City, Logan ranked among nation's worst for air pollution - BY
JUDY FAHYS Northern Utah's spikes of wintertime pollution
landed two cities on an American Lung Association 10-worst list for dirty
air.MAY 1, 2008
Two Utah Cities Named Worst Air Quality In Country By EPA - 01/22/13 The EPA releases a daily list of cities that have the worst air and Monday,
Logan topped the list, followed by Provo, Utah. KUTV
Utah cities named worst air quality in the country - 1/22/13 ABC4 For a little variety:Northern Utah's air is the worst
in the nation - KSL01/11/10 How long will Utah's
legislature do nothing... when Utah is named 'worst air in the
nation', year after year after year...?
Isn't much of this caused by a weather condition? Why don't we just
legislate the weather? Of course there are some things we all could do to
decrease the air pollution. I'm not sure the state government halting
industrial work is the way to go. I'm not sure making mass transit free
would even make that much of a difference. Mass transit is already cheaper for
many people than driving themselves, but it's just not as convenient as
having your own vehicle so people don't use it that much. I'm just not
exactly sure what these groups are expecting the legislature to do that will
actually be effective.
With the air pollution from burning wood for just one night equivalent to the
air pollution from driving a car for an entire year, it is rather obvious that
people who burn wood to heat their homes and charcoal to cook their meals are
making an inordinate and unwelcome contribution to air pollution here in SLC and
should be assessed a stiff pollution penalty if not an outright ban.From a health perspective, wood smoke pollution is the elephant in the valley
nobody wants to talk about. You will never have healthy breathing air in SLC
without eliminating ALL wood and charcoal smoke. Wood smoke has now been proven
to increase mortality rates and shorten life spans especially in men.DOCTOR DEATH IS IN CHARGE OF AIR QUALITY IN SALT LAKE CITY AND ALWAYS WILL BE
According to a website run by the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, a
concentration of particulate matter (PM 2.5) in the air of 55.5 microgram per
cubic meter or more is unhealthy. Last week the concentration in Utah and Salt
Lake Counties reached well over 100 on that scale.The story also
mentions that our pollution problem can be an obstacle to Utah's economic
development.So I'm a left-wing extremist now because I want to
avoid health problems and promote economic development?Mr Spring
also wrote "Those who truly care about the future of this State will be
watching, and will not forget."I agree with him about that!
I agree that inversion is a bad problem in Utah. This directly affects how i
run. I think that some of the things mentioned in the article were a bit
extreme however, like not using snow blowers or four wheelers to shovel snow. I
personally use a shovel, but thats just because I am too cheap to buy a four
This is a true test of what the Legislature is made of. Will its members have
the courage to stand up to the bullying by left-wing extremists, or will they
wilt like a daisy in the desert? Those who truly care about the future of this
State will be watching, and will not forget.