Clean air advocates slam Legislature for inaction

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  • Man_of_letters Salt Lake County, UT
    March 15, 2013 9:03 p.m.

    Wait, no urban areas? The entire Wasatch Front is an urban area with hundreds of thousands of vehicles commuting daily.
    No industrial areas? We have various refineries, medical waste incinerators, mining operations (both extraction and processing at Kennecott all over the Oquirrhs), gravel pits on both the north and south ends of the valley, power plants, and agricultural areas.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 15, 2013 3:43 p.m.

    To "Man_of_letters" lets see, not a whole lot of logging going in the Salt Lake Valley. No major industrial area or urban areas. The area is a desert, and with the amount of suburban housing, we are actually preventing more dust from entering the atmosphere.

    But the climatologists measure CO2 at one point for the entire earth, and if CO2 can be considered evenly distributed through the atmosphere, why can't we do the same for small particles?

    To "sfbayutes" actually it is easy to argue that Salt Lake doesn't have the pollution problems that LA or Beijing has. The simple fact that we don't have the same pollution problem is a good place to start, combine that with the unique geography of Utah, and it is easy to say that Utah's problems are very different.

    People are not always drawn to Utah for the climate. The climate here is not the best. People come to utah for the culture and the family friendly culture.

  • Man_of_letters Salt Lake County, UT
    March 15, 2013 2:42 p.m.

    "Interested" from Logan: "Why dont those 8000 people get together and create something better than what we currently do?Create a new process or product that has a real advantage over the current status quo."

    Utah Mom's for Clean Air have sent lists of suggestions to improve our air quality, Utah Physicians for Clean Air have worked to get the refineries to install EPA-mandated pollution-reducing systems before asking for expansion.

    Part of the work they are doing is similar to the job of a free press: they are exposing the misinformation which the industry and government are using to paint a more positive picture than reality (using statewide air poolution measurements rather than county measurements to make Kennecott appear to contribute only 3 percent rather than 30 percent of particle pollution, for instance)

  • sfbayutes Los Gatos, CA
    March 15, 2013 2:37 p.m.

    To "RedShirt" - Inversions are natural. Smog (unhealthy PM2.5/10 and ozone levels) is man-made and can be dramatically reduced by us. I agree California has more than it's share of pollution issues. It also has 38 million people where Utah doesn't break 3 million. I question the logic of arguing Utah is no worse than the L.A. basin or Beijing. If you're a town that prides itself on the great outdoors and an active lifestyle you don't ever want to be in the same sentence as those places. And you don't want your cities to be in the top 5 at airnow dot gov regularly from November to March (as well as July). California's climate/beaches/opportunities/diversity will always be a draw - enough that people will put up with quite a lot (of bad air, bad taxes, bad politics). Utah's draws aren't as obvious, but many of the ones that exist depend on a healthy environment. I also thought that Utah's economy was the 'envy' of the nation with a relatively low jobless rate - certainly if anyone could afford to invest in clean air it would be Utah. If not now, when?

  • Man_of_letters Salt Lake County, UT
    March 15, 2013 2:23 p.m.

    RedShirt, "according to NASA and their article "Aerosols: Tiny Particles, Big Impact", only 10% of the fine particle pollution is man made. That means that 90% of the fine particle pollution is NATURAL. So, even if we cut our emissions by 50%, that would account for a 5% drop in fine particle pollution."

    The numbers you are citing from that article refer to worldwide particle counts. It's fallacious to assume that the composition of the air in our state or specific cities and counties therein would be identical to the total composition of all air on Earth. The article makes human impact clear in its last three paragraphs. I'm limited in how many words I can use, so I'll just copy and paste some brief statements from said article:

    "Though less abundant than natural forms, anthropogenic aerosols can dominate the air downwind of urban and industrial areas."

    "Deforestation, overgrazing, drought, and excessive irrigation can alter the land surface, increasing the rate at which dust aerosols enter the atmosphere."

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    March 15, 2013 1:45 p.m.

    Here's the funny thing about inversion politics: It's very easy to complain about air quality when you have a job. When you don't have a job, air quality is pretty much the farthest thing from your mind.

    In other words, if you asked Utahns to exchange all the jobs in the valley for perfectly clean air, 99% of us would say no deal.

    All the legislature is doing is representing what Utahns want: Jobs before clean air.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 15, 2013 1:08 p.m.

    To "sfbayutes" you should go to the Heart and Lung association's web site. California is very well represented on the list of top 10 cities with year round pollution problems.

    Cities like LA have really bad problems, yet it hasn't seemed to stop people from going there.

    FYI, Utah doesn't have "months of unsightly and damaging air". At best it has a few weeks of fog during the winter, and a few weeks of haze during the summer.

    Why do you blame the heavy industry for the hazy air, when (according to NASA) 90% of the fine particles in the air are NATURAL? How do you propose that we regulate nature?

  • sfbayutes Los Gatos, CA
    March 15, 2013 12:18 p.m.

    Short-sided. There are times when regulation is better for the overall economy - this is one of them. Utah's government is siding with the polluters at the expense of public health and public perception. The cost of ignoring the latter at the preference of the former will be a fools bargain. Utah's air woes were all over the national/world news this winter. The local standard of living is a joke - the perceived positives of living a semi-rural, active-outdoor lifestyle are utterly trumped by months of unsightly and damaging air. The ski/outdoor industry will suffer (Colorado may not have Utah's snow, but at least you can see the mountains), talented people will leave for greener pastures (or less-green air), companies will not relocate since no one will move to Utah (since the air is actually cleaner in California). If government were thinking long-term, and not with reelection in mind, they would legislate strongly favoring clean air regulation, high density, mass transit and a move to an information economy better suited to valleys which can't geographically support heavy industry. My $.02 from a California 'liberal' who proudly hails from Utah.

  • interested Logan, UT
    March 15, 2013 12:19 p.m.

    I am a little curious as to what these people are doing themselves. All I see are protests demanding "action". Why dont those 8000 people get together and create something better than what we currently do? Create a new process or product that has a real advantage over the current status quo. I guess it is just easier to hold up posters.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 15, 2013 11:38 a.m.

    Here is the funny thing yet again about the misinformation being perpetuated here.

    First, Utah does not have year round pollution problems according to the EPA and the Heart and Lung Association. It has short term problems.

    Second, according to NASA and their article "Aerosols: Tiny Particles, Big Impact", only 10% of the fine particle pollution is man made. That means that 90% of the fine particle pollution is NATURAL. So, even if we cut our emissions by 50%, that would account for a 5% drop in fine particle pollution.

    Or, am I wrong and these advocates have figured out how to legislate new laws for Nature?

  • Moabmom Moab, UT
    March 15, 2013 11:25 a.m.

    Salt Lake City in located in a valley. Inversion happens. The protestors and groups they represented at the Capital are more interested in vilifying industry and job creators in industry than in air quality solutions. ( Funny how the same people show up over and over in these protest pictures and the same people are always front and center at any opportunity to slam capitalism. ) Our legislators are working on solutions, but have the wisdom to try and find a solution that does not involve "killing the goose" to solve the problem.

  • HS Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    March 15, 2013 10:42 a.m.

    With the current leadership being dominated by one party rule nothing will change. It's all about the money for them and until the people of this state decide what's more important to them, money or air, nothing will change. You want action on clean air, vote the current bunch out! This will become a huge issue in future elections. I was out to dinner with a very Republican friend who told me that he will move out of the state if something is not done. A lot of people will do the same if things don't improve. Inversions are natural, pollution is not!

  • ingslc salt lake city, UT
    March 15, 2013 10:07 a.m.

    The docs and Mr. Marasco are absolutely right. Abominable lack of leadership. Before the session began, the Governor received 8500 signatures demanding action. Over 100 doctors signed on a letter declaring a health emergency and getting national attention, but apparently our leaders know better than 8500 citizens and highly trained doctors. The governor should have used the bully pulpit to demand air quality bills. He should have put ideas on the table. The docs gave him many. The Moms have since followed up with more. The legislative majority should have considered the health of our citizens over their shameless pandering to industry. The real truth folks, based on this legislative session.....our leaders LIKE smog. There can be no other rational conclusion. They could still redeem themselves by calling a special session specifically to work out solutions for short term and long term clean air policies, but i won't bother holding my breath.

  • AlanSutton Salt Lake City, UT
    March 15, 2013 9:31 a.m.

    Air quality regulation must be carefully considered. It's not something - anything! - to be thrown together quickly to satisfy protestors. That was the problem with Senator Briscoe's two bills; they were eactions to protestors lining up in front of the Capitol Building so he could appear to be doing something.

    What we really need are legislators who do some homework during the months when the Legislature is not in session. Air quality is a complex subject that requires research, education, planning and bipartisan work.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    March 15, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    This is evidence of our great education system.