Op-ed: Let's actually fix Utah's air pollution

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  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Feb. 15, 2018 6:09 a.m.

    Imminent domain, if our elected officials didn't want spray of the jet chemtrails, could they stop them. I don't think so.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Feb. 7, 2018 8:25 a.m.

    Who wouldn't want to go off grid, except if you do your power rate bill dubbles. So ya can spend a lot on split that won't get the sun because of the spray from her plans clouding the sky killing birds ( in Draper) all over the world. What goes up must come down, is fish an is as people. It does change ya, not for the good, but for good.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 2, 2018 8:25 p.m.

    @Impartial7
    "The political powers have convinced the Utah public that WE are the main cause of pollution. Cars, fireplaces, BBQ's, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, nail salons, wood fired restaurant ovens, etc. All while ignoring the main sources; Kennecott, US Magnesium, oil refineries, etc. "

    Political powers? These studies were done by scientists in relevant fields, just like with climate change research. Those studies say that roughly half of the locally generated pollution is from vehicles, and another third is from things like homes/businesses. A sixth of the pollution problem is from what you call the "main sources" (of course a power plant is way more than a car... but we have a whole lot of cars).

  • NEAD SLC, UT
    Jan. 2, 2018 12:52 p.m.

    jsf,

    A revenue-neutral tax is designed to change the relative price of substitute goods available to consumers. For example, if the external social cost of driving your car everywhere was internalized into the price of gasoline via a tax, then the monetary and inconvenience cost of taking the bus would be more comparable to driving and more people would ride the bus on the margin. Sending the tax revenue back to consumers wouldn't cause behavior to revert back to the original consumption values, because some consumers would substitute more bus rides for car trips.

    It's a form of a pigouvian tax, and is commonly proposed by economists, but is rarely implemented by policy-makers. Usually because they fail to understand how it works. Subsidies are more common in practice, but are more expensive in terms of economic efficiency.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Jan. 2, 2018 10:32 a.m.

    "(The “sin tax” on carbon energy and fuels can be returned to the public equally in the form of household tax credits or checks.) "

    The government takes and takes and takes. If the funds are returned to household credits how does that solve the problem? If you tax the polluters for using carbon, raising their costs, and then reimburse them with the same dollars, less the governments take, then how did you create a cost incentive to not use carbon fuels.

    This would be taxing it then subsidizing its use. Except the government steals more tax dollars.

  • What in Tucket Provo, UT
    Jan. 2, 2018 7:04 a.m.

    The problem is not coal. If coal is scrubbed of particulates, nitrogen and sulfur oxides it is pretty clean. Besides the plants are not even in the valleys. Natural gas is a clean fuel for power plants and autos and trucks. As Nonames says it is not that expensive or difficult to go to natural gas for surface vehicles. And the fuel is comparable or less than gasoline.
    I would suggest initially starting by having government buy natural gas powered vehicles for their state, county, city needs. As more and more vehicles are so fitted the private sector will get involved thus dramatically lowering pollution.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 1, 2018 11:11 p.m.

    Just live.with an asthmatic and you'll know how bad the.air can be here.

  • Big J Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 1, 2018 8:13 p.m.

    Blah, ba blah, ba blah, blah, blah.

    We live in a bowl. We live in a bowl. We live in a bowl. We get inversion especially bad in January and February. When the weather cooperates, we have the cleanest and clearest air. When it does not, we don't.

    There is no fix to the inversion. Sorry!

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Jan. 1, 2018 5:26 p.m.

    To Impartial7:

    re: "You couldn't be more off the mark. Those technologies already exist and are in use in most places in our country. "

    Right, got it. Once again, short on any details, at all. What specific technologies and what regulations? Our climate, geography, population density and economy are quite different/unique on the Wasatch Front. This isn't California where natural gas heating isn't needed much, or San Francisco where there is little need for air conditioning in the summer. We don't have the population density to justify multi deca-billion dollar mass transit like a subway system or high-speed electric trains. We need cars in our suburban-like, modest density Wasatch Front. We don't have tens of thousands of $300k+ jobs on the Wasatch front that will support most people buying $40k+ electric cars, especially with our larger family sizes, charitable contributions, and public ed needs.

    Come on, specifically, what would you propose to SIGNIFICANTLY cut emissions and pollution without imposing very expensive costs on our economy and hurting job growth desperately needed for one of the fastest growing populations in the country?

  • LOU Montana Pueblo, CO
    Jan. 1, 2018 5:21 p.m.

    casual observer; I am still invested in Utah. I have two daughters and four grandchildren there. I am concerned for there wellbeing.

    We need government to be a police agency to regulate, enforce and fine businesses for not complying.

    It is hysterically funny to believe that these corporations would create their own regulations for the sake of mankind and comply with them.
    I say, "Ya right!"

    Don't forget, the EPA was a Republican idea.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Jan. 1, 2018 4:23 p.m.

    @carman;
    "It will take years to get cost-effective technologies that can replace our current higher polluting technologies. Pushing draconian regulation would have massive negative consequences for our economy."

    You couldn't be more off the mark. Those technologies already exist and are in use in most places in our country. It's not killing their economy. Utah has the laxest air pollution regs that are allowed by law. Hence, some of the worst pollution in the country. Half of the UTAH DAQ monitoring sensors don't work. That's not by accident. The Utah regulatory agencies, that are supposed to protect Utah citizens, actually work to protect big polluting industries. How do you vote?

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Jan. 1, 2018 11:50 a.m.

    To Baron Scarpia:

    re: " to avoid the poor quality of life in Utah. "

    Haha. We are consistently ranked among places in the U.S. with the highest quality of life. I just drove through St. George where it was 12 degrees colder than 2,000 ft higher in Cedar City. How can this be? It's called inversion, and it traps air near the earth's surface. I note that those calling for "cleaning up the air" on the Wasatch front offer few, if any, real solutions. The only way to quickly change the air situation would be to shut down dozens of businesses, cut automotive emissions by 50%+, cut home natural gas use by 50%, ban diesels on our highways along the Wasatch Front, ban snow blowers, take our plows off the roads, jack up gasoline taxes by 2x-3x, or similar draconian measures. And these wouldn't solve the problem, but would only reduce the problem.

    It will take years to get cost-effective technologies that can replace our current higher polluting technologies. Pushing draconian regulation would have massive negative consequences for our economy. Stating otherwise is just ignorance or blindness to fact.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Jan. 1, 2018 11:50 a.m.

    To Baron Scarpia:

    re: " to avoid the poor quality of life in Utah. "

    Haha. We are consistently ranked among places in the U.S. with the highest quality of life. I just drove through St. George where it was 12 degrees colder than 2,000 ft higher in Cedar City. How can this be? It's called inversion, and it traps air near the earth's surface. I note that those calling for "cleaning up the air" on the Wasatch front offer few, if any, real solutions. The only way to quickly change the air situation would be to shut down dozens of businesses, cut automotive emissions by 50%+, cut home natural gas use by 50%, ban diesels on our highways along the Wasatch Front, ban snow blowers, take our plows off the roads, jack up gasoline taxes by 2x-3x, or similar draconian measures. And these wouldn't solve the problem, but would only reduce the problem.

    It will take years to get cost-effective technologies that can replace our current higher polluting technologies. Pushing draconian regulation would have massive negative consequences for our economy. Stating otherwise is just ignorance or blindness to fact.

  • casual observer Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 1, 2018 9:54 a.m.

    LOU Montana - Pueblo, CO

    Bad air in Utah is Utah's problem and if we do not fix it we are responsible, not the federal government or Trump. BTW, Denver's bad air needs a local solution also.

    The argument that cleaning up the air will kill jobs is an empty vessel. Air pollution is killing people.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Jan. 1, 2018 8:29 a.m.

    @impartial.

    Industry certainly contributes to our pollution but our vehicles contribute the bulk of it.

    @No names accepted

    High density housing is being pushed by builders because there is more profit in it.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Jan. 1, 2018 12:29 a.m.

    @Impartial7: "Please tell me where, in America, anyone, anywhere is forcing birth control?"

    So, shall I assume we mostly agree on the issue of forcing high density housing and mass transit onto unwilling individuals and neighborhoods? How many Draper residents want apartments and train tracks in their neighborhoods? Or seeing the UTA insiders get rich while not providing decent service?

    You should seek more areas of commonality rather than rushing to disagree.

    As for forced birth control, this nation has a sad history of forced sterilization. Sanger started Planned Parenthood with the overt desire to limit the population of "undesired" groups. Elective abortions remain grossly disproportionatley used by poor minorities.

    Please tell me you don't suppprt tax penalties for having "too many" children. Tell me that even as you support socialized medicine and all manner of other welfare programs that you are not resentful of the taxes you pay to support schools for your Utah Mormon neighbors' kids. Tell me you don't have concerns about worldwide "over population".

    My concerns are not limited to current policy in the US. They include a warning of where things could go.

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    Dec. 31, 2017 9:31 p.m.

    @ carman

    "...killing jobs and self-sufficiency"

    I hear this tired argument that doing something environmental is going to "kill jobs" ... sadly, our bad air is actually killing economic opportunity in our state. We've had many economic development representatives report that business scouts come to Utah during our ski season, witness/experience our bad air, and then decide to set up their businesses elsewhere to avoid the poor quality of life in Utah.

    Sadly, our ambivolence about air pollution is costing the state economic opportunity -- and jobs for our ever-booming population.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Dec. 31, 2017 7:25 p.m.

    Forcing lower emissions before reasonably priced alternatives are available will do more harm than good by killing jobs and self-sufficiency. Without jobs, people cannot afford to eat well, take stress-relieving vacations, get good medical and dental care, or live in safe/healthy communities and homes.

    Everyone wants clean air, but it has to be balanced with a healthy economy. The air is much cleaner in most cities today than it was in the 70's. We will continue to make progress, but we need more efficient technologies, bridge technologies, pollution abatement technologies, more affordable solutions, etc. Those who focus solely on the single issue of air pollution without considering the economy or jobs will do more harm than good with heavy-handed regulation than the bad air itself is doing.

  • 3grandslams Eagle Mountain, UT
    Dec. 31, 2017 4:20 p.m.

    I'm all for clean air unless it becomes political. When politicians get involved weird things happen, billions of dollars are lost to "leaders" of the clean air movement, faulty science becomes law and people actually get angry if you don't agree with their point of view.

    Educating is way better than policy making, propaganda and demonizing, which is what has been happening the last 20 years.

    All people want clean air, that's not an issue, it's the means to the end that becomes questionable, if not self-serving.

    To clean our air let's become neighborly, not partisan.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Dec. 31, 2017 3:25 p.m.

    @NoNamesAccepted;

    "I will oppose efforts to impose high density housing, the use of mass transit, forced birth control, higher taxes, or limits on landscaping our yards."

    Please tell me where, in America, anyone, anywhere is forcing birth control? Really- where?
    Time for a different radio channel.

  • No One Of Consequence West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 31, 2017 3:20 p.m.

    What do we do about the yellow plume that blows into the valley from north of the lake? The magnesium refinery's contribution to Wasatch Front pollution is generally not mentioned in these kind of articles. The copper refinery has cleaned up their act so we know that it can be done.

    One cannot be concerned about air pollution on the Wasatch Front and at the same time support the rampant over-development we are experiencing. More people means more stuff in the air.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Dec. 31, 2017 2:59 p.m.

    Solar and wind cannot replace other energy sources at least until electrical storage technology gets far less costly. And both of these energy sources impose environmental costs of their own as huge areas of (usually remote, rural) land must covered with windmills, PV panels, or mirrors, along with new transmission lines.

    Nuclear power, in contrast, requires very little land and produces relatively little pollution, none of which contributes to global warming.

    Converting automobiles from gasoline to compressed natural gas reduces pollution between 50 and 90%.

    We will not eliminate all pollution. The question is whether the goal is to really reduce in meaningful amounts, or whether the goal is to use environmental concerns as an excuse to dictate how others live or to take their money.

    We all value a clean environment. I will happily support environmental efforts that respect my freedom and lifestyle.

    I will oppose efforts to impose high density housing, the use of mass transit, forced birth control, higher taxes, or limits on landscaping our yards.

    For the cost of fixed rail we could convert most,commute cars in Utah to CNG.

  • Llew40 Sandy, UT
    Dec. 31, 2017 2:38 p.m.

    Very admirable goal the author is proposing. Unfortunately, we have no "Tony Stark" with an actual innovative idea to
    1) Convince the public to trade in their carbon fueled vehicles spewing millions of pollutants into the air for individual transportation that actually runs on clean energy.
    2) Offer a tax incentive to make such "chicken in every pot" technology available to the common automobile owner or inventor attempting to market such new technology.
    Show me a political leader with this kind of vision and I'll be sure to vote for him/her.
    I'm convinced if everyone did not drive their cars, for just one day, the real smog producers in our fair valley would be revealed.
    Good luck!

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Dec. 31, 2017 11:46 a.m.

    It's never getting fixed. The political powers have convinced the Utah public that WE are the main cause of pollution. Cars, fireplaces, BBQ's, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, nail salons, wood fired restaurant ovens, etc. All while ignoring the main sources; Kennecott, US Magnesium, oil refineries, etc. All the guys that funnel campaign cash to our government. We (the people) could cut our emissions to zero, and we'd still have horrible air, due to industrial pollution. Our government leaders are selling out constituents health for big industry polluters.

  • LOU Montana Pueblo, CO
    Dec. 31, 2017 10:39 a.m.

    You are going to have to learn to deal with your bad air. Trump is dismantling the EPA and promoting the use of coal. The air quality in Salt Lake Valley is only going to get worse.

    Sad!