Letter: Stop refinery

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  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 15, 2013 3:11 p.m.

    It would be nice to pristine air, no pollution at all. But then I couldn't drive a car, or have any of the other modern conveniences I want and am used to.

    Its all about balance.

    From what I have read, the refinery promises no additional pollution will be put into the air if they expand because new pollution control equipment will be installed.

    Given all this I don't have a problem with the expansion.

    Lets also convert all fleet vehicles in Utah to natural gas. This includes buses and the Front Runner. Also lets require that people who burn wood do it responsibly. I used to live by a neighbor who heated his house with wood exclusively. Problem with that is he insisted on having his firebox temperature very low which meant he was always putting out a lot of smoke, and quite often it drifted in my direction and it actually made my house smoky. The state needs to regulate wood furnaces since people won't do it themselves.

  • Yeah but South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 15, 2013 9:48 a.m.

    @ingslc - you're right - let's move the refineries where they won't pollute anyone who matters. How about Sevier County? No, they have been fighting a natural gas fired power plant there for years. How about Vernal by the oil fields? No, they have worse pollution than we do here. How about the moon? Nobody lives there.

    When the refineries were built, they were within the boundaries of the inversions we have today - the mountains, the lake, the snow-cover that result in the inversions haven't changed. What has changed is that greedy people found cheap land and poor people to buy cheap homes right next to the refineries. Later came rich people with more dollars than sense who bought land up on the mountains overlooking those refineries. Now, they complain about the smell from the refineries - perhaps they should have opened their noses before their pocketbooks when they bought their mansions, most of which have 4-5 car garages to park their gas-guzzlers. And, it's what they park in those garages that keeps this state hooked on letting those refineries expand. The smell is just an indicator of what happens when greed gets decoupled from intelligence.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 15, 2013 1:16 a.m.

    "Haven't people been regulated enough to make things safe? I guess we could go back to hors and buggy days." The answer to your question is "no." As a state employee I worked for both the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Health. Though there are good people in those departments, both of them are desperately underfunded, especially DEQ monitoring, and they are hamstrung by private interests who are determined that they don't do their jobs. Regulation of environmental pollution is very poor. The public doesn't know how poor.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 14, 2013 2:11 p.m.

    Thank you ingslc for adding some sensibility to the discussion!

    Just because we have a robust military doesn't mean we should store nuclear weapons waste next to an elementary school. Just because we eat bacon doesn't mean we need to have a pig farm situated in a suburban sub-division. And just because we use cars doesn't mean we should have refineries directly upwind of our population centers.

    I think individuals need to accept some responsibility when we have poor air quality days, and speed limits on freeways should be reduced to lower car emissions. I also think we should adopt California-level emission standards on cars, like a lot of other states have. But I also think it makes zero sense to have industrial polluters in such close proximity to our children.

    Maybe we can make a grand bargain here: The Legislature can move the prison to some other area so realtors can make some money, and we can provide tax incentives to get the refineries moved to a less populous area with better air flow.

    Making school children wear surgical masks reveals the absurdity of the situation.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Dec. 14, 2013 10:59 a.m.

    We in Davis County will be breathing a few more pounds of toxic air thanks to our "representatives" in the legislature.

  • embarrassed Utahn! Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 14, 2013 9:40 a.m.

    I just read some of the LDS Church's environmental stewardship admonitions.

    I sure hope the leadership of this state reads the same and I will be holding my breath.

  • ingslc salt lake city, UT
    Dec. 14, 2013 8:39 a.m.

    People who oppose refineries are NOT hypocrites. Different places are suited to different industries. Refineries do NOT belong in a very populated, urban setting that is prone to winter inversions. Its that simple. When these refineries were built, they were built in a location that was then very far away from most people - even back in the day they understood that those refineries did not belong in backyards. Our city and valley has changed so much since then and the refineries no longer fit here. They should take their 45 permanent new jobs to a part of the state with a more open and robust airshed, a place not prone to inversions. There are many places in the state that would rejoice over those 45 jobs.

    Dec. 14, 2013 8:07 a.m.

    A lot of people are apparently reacting to the DN editorial without having read it. If the expansion requires Holly to increase the safety of the plant and reduce emissions, then everyone wins with the expansion.

    There are few things in life that are black and white. As the writer suggests, we could make a dramatic change to the air quality in the valley with drastic changes. She should enumerate what those changes might be. Shutting off all natural gas and banning all driving on bad air days comes to mind. Of course a lot of people would die. And we would still have inversions, the valley would still be socked in, and it would much more miserable and dangerous living here during inversions. Perhaps those complaining the loudest should suggest a few solutions. Preventing Holly from expanding could conceivably make air quality worse - I don't see how that would a solution to anything.

    In the meantime, there's a cheap and easy remedy for those who are bothered by the bad air (most of us aren't): wear a surgical-type mask rated to filter particulates.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 14, 2013 8:04 a.m.

    There has been a refinery in Woods Cross since at least June 3, 1909 when UTOCO started refining oil from Ashley Valley. There are always those who buy a home next to a feed lot and then complain about the smell just as there always those who buy a home next to a refinery and then do everything they can to shut down the refinery.

    Life has trade-offs. If you want the splendid view enjoyed by many in Bountiful, you're going to have to endure the smell. The refineries were there first. You knew it before you purchased a home in the area.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Dec. 14, 2013 7:56 a.m.

    A few years ago we wholeheartedly embraced the concept of 'drill, baby, drill'. This is that concept manifest. We made the deal. We declared that domestic production was paramount, and that conservation efforts were foolish. Now all we have to do is live with it.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    Dec. 14, 2013 7:39 a.m.

    Haven't people been regulated enough to make things safe? I guess we could go back to hors and buggy days. I think it is a bit hypocritical to complain about refineries while you drive your car and eat food harvested and hauled by vehicles that use fuel.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Dec. 14, 2013 5:55 a.m.

    People who oppose refineries should never buy its products; gasoline, heating oil, most plastics, or buying any food, clothing or any goods transported on trucks! Otherwise you become a hypocrite.