Letter: Air quality

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  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Jan. 8, 2014 9:51 a.m.

    Jeff Bowles
    Salt Lake, UT
    "No one knows for sure what the full impact of these establishments are on nearby neighborhoods". Kennecott and the refineries have been here for 50+ years. How much longer do we need to wait to see if there is a cause and effect? Has the medical/government been hiding the results?

    8:22 a.m. Jan. 8, 2014


    Utah [Salt Lake in particular] has an Autism rate 4 times the national average.
    Autism has been linked to mercury,
    mercury has been used by Kennecott,
    is emmitted by burning fossil fuels.

    Cause v. Effect.
    But I guess it's not a problem or doesn't happen if YOUR kid isn't the one ruined for life from it.

  • Jeff Bowles Salt Lake, UT
    Jan. 8, 2014 8:22 a.m.

    "No one knows for sure what the full impact of these establishments are on nearby neighborhoods". Kennecott and the refineries have been here for 50+ years. How much longer do we need to wait to see if there is a cause and effect? Has the medical/government been hiding the results?

  • Jeff Bowles Salt Lake, UT
    Jan. 8, 2014 7:08 a.m.

    The responses to my letter are pretty much what I expected. I must be an uneducated, Mormon, gay hater who works for big dirty industry and loves dirty air. I am surprised somebody didn't find a way to call me a racist. Unfortunately, this just shows the stereotypical name calling that liberals always use to denigrate anybody with a different view. I'm college educated, self employed, parents were both Democratic, and have no religious affiliation. So how about we deal with reality. Either the head of air quality for Utah lied by stating inTV/newspaper interviews that the air has improved for the last twenty years or he is correct and it has improved.If he lied then we should be going after him for the coverup. If he is telling the truth, then Dr. Moench isn't telling the truth. Simple question, who is telling the truth? And unless you are not driving a car, heating your home, or using any lights, then your use of fossil fuels is just as bad as mine. What makes your use different from mine?

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 8, 2014 12:06 a.m.

    Most of the writers in this blog fail to understand that climate is both global and very local. Establishments such as the refineries, Rio Tinto, and Stericycle affect the region, but they also affect much more acutely their immediate neighborhoods. No one knows for sure what the full impact of these establishments is on their nearby neighbors, and the establishments don't want to know, and indeed don't care. This is the great dilemma of environmental epidemiology - we don't know the full impact of the pollutants because the science has not been done. As to the culpability of these establishments, conservatives would say innocent until proven guilty - leftists would be more inclined to be cautious and say guilty until proven innocent. Or in other words we should error on the side of caution.

    The effects of pollution may be evident in the future when the casualties have already occurred. I have directly experienced such.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 7, 2014 9:09 p.m.

    @2bits......you said "The refineries would still be creating the same amount of pollution... just somewhere else."

    Ummm.... not sure how many turnarounds you have actually done, but I have done more than a few..... and most of those facilities are OLD. I know it hard to imagine, but there are actually newer and cleaner ways to do things. Part of any expansion is to bring grandfathered assets up to current standards, and in the process, produce less emissions. There are multiple was to improve technologies that can aide in optimization of the operation in catalytic reforming process, optimize the fluid catalytic cracking, or even reduce excess oxygen present in the flue gas, reducing the amount of incomplete combustion. This is just a start.

    If you had read carefully, I agreed, moving the facilities is not economically viable. But to say a net new facility would pollute the same just is false, very false.

    And to your comment that we need gas for our cars... today... yes - mostly. Tomorrow, not so true. To say the technology of 100 years ago is our only option and we are stuck it lacks just a little bit of vision... to say the least.

  • Neanderthal Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 7, 2014 8:22 p.m.

    "If you don't want to live in weather-related inversions, there are plenty of other places to live."

    True... you could move to cities like Chicago where it's -70 wind chill... or in other Midwest states where your house can be blown away in a wind storm.

  • Haiku Pleasant Grove, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 4:57 p.m.

    Air-polluting cars:
    Why drive them, when we could be
    Riding unicorns?

  • Sven Morgan, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 4:53 p.m.

    Excellent letter.

    We are dealing with the same people who've tried to push the bogus "science" of global warming on the planet. Every thing liberals do is agenda driven. They have never met an industry they've not villified, and had as their mission, the desire to destroy it.

    Leftists always need an "evil" corporation, or other entitiy they dislike in order to push yet more regulations on the American citizen. Just wait until Dear Leader pushes cap & trade on this nation via the EPA. Energy costs will go through the roof, and our nation will continue to decline economically and technically.

    We are currently witnessing what unbridled liberalism (socialism) brings upon a nation.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 4:21 p.m.

    This is not make believe. How can you drive your car without gas? How do you get gas without refineries? You can't just pick them up and move them outside the valley. Even IF you could... that would just cause MORE pollution (the same pollution from the refining process PLUS the added pollution to truck the gas to the valley).

    The refineries would still be creating the same amount of pollution... just somewhere else. And if that location is still in the Great Basin... the air will eventually end up trapped in the valley.


    I think we would get a bigger bang for our buck if we just outlawed driving (instead of moving all refineries far enough that they won't pollute the Wasatch Front). Heck... Then the refineries would close too (becasue there would be no demand for their product).

    But neither is going to happen. We can't outlaw driving. And we can't banish existing refineries.

    The reality is... we can't drive without gas. And we can't have gas without refineries. So including some restrictions on driving (not just banishing refineries) seems like it would be a good thing to consider.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 3:48 p.m.

    When you get into "Regulation"... the question I ask is... where do you draw the line, and who get's to control whom?

    Do I get to control you? Or do you just get to control me?

    Is it OK to control people just because their environmental opinions aren't radical enough? Who do we get to regulate? Anybody who's not as radical about environmentalism as me? or as radical as you? Where is that line? Would you be OK if we decided Conservatives could control/regulate you? Or is it only OK if Liberals are doing the controlling/regulating?

    You can't say "Liberals can regulate Conservatives" using environmentalism as their tool... but freak if Conservatives try to control you with their morality as their standard. Environmentalism IS a moral issue.

    That's the main problem with regulation. There must be a line. I think that's the only place we would disagree.

    Environmentalism is a moral issue. Some appreciate being beat over the head with your morality and regulations as much as you appreciate being hit over the head with their religious morality and moral-regulations.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 7, 2014 2:56 p.m.

    @2 bits - I agree with you, moving the plants is probably a no go from a cost perspective. Granting them permission to expand on the condition of overall reduction in emissions is a much more pragmatic solution.

    But the rest of the rhetorical tung twisting is a bit silly. Why does driving cars mean that you must settle for pollution. There is nothing scientifically that requires this sort of bi-polar decision. And simply because something is done a certain way now, does not mean it is the best way forward. These either or discussion just creates false arguments.

    We can have cars, jobs, and industry.... and clean air and water.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Jan. 7, 2014 2:02 p.m.

    2 bits
    Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Some people can just deal with reality and the world as it actually is... and realize that we actually NEED refineries. That doesn't mean they want the dirtiest air possible.


    I actually agree with you,
    but --

    Having what? 4-6 refineries,
    in an inversion prone,
    high mountain valley,
    filled with 2 million people,
    mostly children,

    doesn't mean that businesses and SUVs can do what they,
    when they want, and how they want.

    That is called "regulation" and some "conservativs" are against any and all regulation regardless the impat to humans or the enviroment -- business rules, and money is the ultimate God.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 1:08 p.m.

    I have a policy of not listening to anybody who claims one side just wants clean air, puppy dogs, and world peace. And the other side WANTS dirty air, hates dogs, and only wants war. These people are drunk on their political dogma and are no longer making any sense.

    Nobody WANTS dirty air. Nobody thinks, "the dirtier the air the better". When some people PRETEND that some people actually think this it's amazing but just shows how out of touch with reality they are.

    Some people can just deal with reality and the world as it actually is... and realize that we actually NEED refineries. That doesn't mean they want the dirtiest air possible. That's a leap of logic that some make that makes no sense to me. I guess it makes sense in the rhetoric obsessed mind.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Jan. 7, 2014 11:56 a.m.

    Bountiful, UT
    But yet, a leader from the office of Utah’s air quality really did say that our air today along the Wasatch front is cleaner that it was 20 years ago. I heard him actually say that on a TV newscast.

    So which is it?

    11:27 a.m. Jan. 7, 2014


    Only 211 people died this year from Utah's bad air quailty instead of over 400.

    Are you still willing to dance in the streets over those deaths?

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 10:45 a.m.

    Dirty air...love it or leave it...

    The new conservative bumper snicker?

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 10:13 a.m.

    'Really? That's the best you got?'

    Actually, no.

    *Studies link air pollution to increased risk of strokes and dementia’ – by Amy Joi O’Donoghue – Deseret news – 02/15/12

    We should support pollution because we drive cars?

    Do you breathe air?

    * 'Red air quality alert issued, limit driving' - DSNews - 08/25/10

    'A strong high pressure area has resulted in a buildup of pollutants, forecasters said, making it especially bad for those with health concerns and breathing problems.'

    Do you live in a house?

    *'New study compares indoor/outdoor pollution levels in Utah' – Salt Lake City – Fox 13 – 12/29/13

    'A Utah State University research professor has spent nearly a decade measuring how much air pollution can seep into homes on red air days.'

    If the only thing you focus on is a cat…

    instead of 33 million metric tons of pollution in the air, well, I have no words for that.

    How can we have 'jobs'…?

    If we are dead?

    *'Study says coal burning in Utah kills 202 a year' - AP - Published by DSNews - 10/19/10

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 10:03 a.m.

    Re "environmental justice is an important issue" (Marxist).

    Can you define "Environmental Justice" for us?


    Re "why do so many Utahns cater to dirty industry"... (Maverick)

    Maybe because they drive cars, and they need gas to drive their cars?

    Re "What would be wrong with moving the refinery elsewhere"?

    Do you know what it would cost to move the refineries elsewhere? Or how much gas would cost if we had no refineries in the Great Basin?

    The locations refineries currently occupy were approved long ago. We can't just tell them "get out" (when they have the legal right to be where they are). Maybe it's us that needs to move. I mean it's US... burning the gas they produce that contributes most to SLC's air pollution on bad inversion days. At least that's what the EPA says.

    Re: "What is bad about having cleaner air and water"?

    I don't think anybody WANTS dirtier air and water. Pretending they do... just shows how around-the-bend you have gone with your rhetoric.


    Re: "last week our CAT has developed asthma"! (Lib Larry)

    Really? That's the best you got?

  • ingslc salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 9:49 a.m.

    The other great thing about America is that the voice of the people counts! and the only reason our air quality has gotten better over the past twenty years is because of people like Dr. Moench speaking out!

  • Dave D Spring Creek, NV
    Jan. 7, 2014 8:59 a.m.

    For a moment, let's just set aside the whole air pollution thing (which, by the way, may not be as bad as it used to be, but is literally killing people), and focus on your assertion that in America people can live wherever they want.

    Roughly 12% of Utah's population live below the poverty line. Have you tried to move somewhere else when you don't have money to fill up a car with gas, or buy a car for that matter? Moreover, people struggling to pay rent or a mortgage can hardly move anywhere. How many people can afford to move above the thick haze of Utah's skies, or outside of areas of inversion. People do not have this freedom. It is also worth mentioning that it is often the people with the least amount of money who are the most impacted by the bad air. The decisions we make regarding our air affects others. Let's own it and do something about it.

  • Wasatch Front Salt Lake , UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 8:51 a.m.

    Another great thing about America is that we are supposed to have protections for public health. And, polluting businesses “can live in other places” that are not threatened by “weather-related inversions.”

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 8:50 a.m.

    I thought the "if you don't like it, leave" defense was the exclusive domain of religious conservatism.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Jan. 7, 2014 8:44 a.m.

    Typical conservative. "If you don't like it, leave. If you don't want to breathe, don't. Don't get sick. And if you do, die quickly."

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 8:22 a.m.

    "If you don't like it leave" that made me chuckle too.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 8:10 a.m.

    *'EPA inventory shows Utah's sources of greenhouse gas' - By Amy Joi O'Donoghue - 02/05/13 - Published by the Deseret News

    'WASHINGTON — The nation's power plants continue to be the single largest stationary source of greenhouse gas emissions, according to new information released Tuesday by the Environmental Protection Agency.'
    In Utah, 14 power plants are responsible for 75 percent of the state's direct greenhouse gas emissions, releasing 33 million metric tons. '

    Yes, the Deseret news is part of…

    social media.

    What a joke.

    Now, anyone else getting sick of this?

    *'Northern Utah's air is the worst in the nation' - KSL - 01/11/10

    *'Utah's air quality Thursday among worst in the nation' – By Shara Park & Mary Richards – KSL Utah – 01/02/14

    'SALT LAKE CITY — Parts of Utah currently have some of the worst air quality in the country…'

    I guess if you don't like facts…

    just make up opinion!

    Many talk of the 'hospitality' of Utah, and then we are constantly presented with examples like this…

    'If you don't like it, leave!'

    'why do so many Utahns cater to dirty industry?'

    Cater to industry, at the EXPENSE of Utah's citizens.

  • ingslc salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 7:48 a.m.

    People frequently throw this "anti-business" criticism around. It defies logic. Dr. Moench doesn't have an alternative business he is trying to push in lieu of Stericycle or the refineries; he doesn't stand to profit. Believe me when I say that as a parent, I want good employment opportunities for my kids! I don't need them sleeping in my basement for the next 35 years! But industry needs to follow the rules (recent fines indicate they often don't); there needs to be rule enforcement (Stericycle is a prime example that there is not); and the cleanest technologically available technology should be used (to protect public health). This isn't anti-business, its responsible business. Furthermore, let us point out that those refineries are old, and were put in NSL back in the day when NSL was really far away. Even then they knew refineries didn't belong in neighborhoods. Our city is changing. It is a dynamic economy and moving those refineries to a different location would be a smart move.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 7:06 a.m.

    Great air in Mesquite Nevada.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 6:56 a.m.

    Ah, the "if you don't like it here, leave" rationale. Gotta love it.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Jan. 7, 2014 6:50 a.m.

    Ah yes, denialism
    [we don't have an air quality problem].
    coupled with the Utah motto:

    "If you don't like it, leave!"

    BTW -- I this letter writer is willing to live by his own words,
    because that same motto applies to Gay marriage in Utah.

    "If you don't like it, leave!"

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    Jan. 7, 2014 6:45 a.m.

    If you don't like living in a place with polluted air you should leave?

    This is the best argument you can come up with?

    The air was so bad last week in Salt Lake City that our CAT has developed asthma!

    Salt Lake air quality is rapidly becoming an economic development issue. It's hard to recruit high tech industries and professionals to a city that has barely breathable air for parts of the winter months.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 6:02 a.m.

    Serious question, why do so many Utahns cater to dirty industry? What would be wrong with moving the refinery elsewhere? What is bad about having cleaner air and water?

    I truly don't get it.

  • embarrassed Utahn! Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 5:22 a.m.

    Dr. Moench is a prince...period. He deals in facts. Utah doesn't have to settle for mediocrity (or toxicity), but somehow Utah always settles. Who in the world would argue that there is no solution? Maybe Tesoro has a letter-writing bonus for their employees???

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 12:28 a.m.

    "The great thing about living in America is that you can live wherever you want." That is flat out untrue. My late mother contracted severe asthma while we were living downwind from the 8th South cement plant. My Dad had us living there because we couldn't afford housing anywhere else reasonably close to his work. The economically disadvantaged are often subject to pollution - environmental justice is an important issue.

    As far as Dr.Moench being a propagandist let me tell you he is a scientist. I attended his presentation of the threats Stericycle poses to public health in North Salt Lake - it was excellently done. I have a background in epidemiology so I know quality in this area when I see it.

    The writer should read some of Moench's material.