Don't hold your breath hoping inversion will clear anytime soon

Grim forecast means little cheer for skiers, residents with respiratory problems

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  • MBB Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 13, 2017 9:48 a.m.

    This happens every year. We get a bad inversion and people complain. There are calls for something to be done, for legislation to be passed. Then, by the time our Utah legislators are back in session, our air clears up and complaints disappear. Nothing gets changed and we forget about it until the next winter. Sigh.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2017 11:53 p.m.

    Want to improve the air quality? Prosecute anyone who "chips" their diesel.

    Chipped diesels produce well over 1000x more pollution than a regular diesel. If an owner is caught "rollin coal," (firing off massive amounts of black smoke) by chipping it - confiscate the truck and crush it. Put it on YouTube. A reduction in black exhaust will follow. Guaranteed.

    If you make chips to defeat diesel emissions, beware. Lobby the legislature to pass new law allowing no corporate veil for protection if you make chips designed to defeat emissions standards. Call it a corporate hate crime.

    Finally, create incentives for those who drive CNG-powered vehicles. The EPA calls them cleaner than any other vehicle on the planet (including Teslas). Utah has a pretty good CNG filling station matrix. Give people who drive CNG vehicles something back. Give any alt-fuel owner a benefit.

    It is fair. Everyone single one of us breathe. Every one of us benefits from cleaner air. Push greater incentives for driving clean-air vehicles.

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    Dec. 12, 2017 11:29 a.m.

    I'm a reasonable person that wants to help air quality. But when one of the answers is take mass transit and that means doubling or tripling my commute time and spending at least 2x what gas costs, I'm out! Why would I do that for the minuscule incremental difference it would make? And if I don't why would everyone else? If the state/county/city governments want us to get serious about air quality, maybe we need to pony up a little money to pay UTA to reduce, or even eliminate, fares on low air quality days. They can put the winter fares on a sliding scale to match the PM 2.5 levels. If it was a red air day and the fare for Frontrunner was less than the cost of gasoline for driving, I would be willing to give up some of my downtime to take the train and manage the significant inconveniences of a mass transit commute. Right now though my sense of altruism can't compete with the costs in time, money, and convenience.

  • Stringer Bell Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2017 11:28 a.m.

    Gotta get Trump’s coal scrubber going so we can get that clean coal he promised. Every little bit helps.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Dec. 12, 2017 10:49 a.m.

    Argue all you may about what, why or how the air quality in SLC and many other places has become so degraded. What I want to know is what are you going to do about it? Or is doing nothing an option?

    From the apologetists on the right, I would gather that doing nothing is the favored alternative. Just how does that sit with everyone else?

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Dec. 12, 2017 9:19 a.m.

    @Baron Scarpia

    "All this talk of air pollution. Porn and booze are far more deadly, and upon which our politicians and religious leaders should keep their focus. At least our air is not as bad as China's!"

    You really want to use China as our pollution measuring stick? That's like saying "well, at least my hair is better than Donald Trump's!"

    No, I want to talk about air pollution, not just porn and booze. The reason is that people in this valley can choose whether or not to partake of porn and booze - they can't choose whether or not to partake of polluted air. If people want to ruin their lives with porn or booze, that's their decision. But pollution is an indiscriminant killer that also happens to prey on the most innocent in our society (children and the elderly).

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    Dec. 12, 2017 8:25 a.m.

    All this talk of air pollution. Porn and booze are far more deadly, and upon which our politicians and religious leaders should keep their focus. At least our air is not as bad as China's!

  • Lolly Lehi, UT
    Dec. 12, 2017 8:15 a.m.

    Know wonder I have been feeling faint. I stopped holding my breath and feel a lot better.

  • softwarementor Lehi, UT
    Dec. 12, 2017 7:45 a.m.

    I think that someone forgot that teeny little issue of the smoke from the Siberian forest fires raging across the Pacific and dumping their smoke right into our valleys. There certainly is an issue with living with a few million other friends in two connected bowels. I live at just over 5,000 feet in Lehi and sometimes we are above the inversion layer and sometimes below, but that layer would still be there even if we all drove Teslas or Leafs or Bolts. I owned a Leaf in GA before I moved here and I loved it for local travel. It was in no way overly expensive as reported in the article. I switched from paying $350-$400/month in gas for my daily commute to paying about $40/month. That alone pretty much paid for the $250 car payment, and the garage in the house we built here is ready to support charging a Tesla Model 3 when they are available. I'll be able to drive all over the area, never visiting a gas or charging station (and across the nation with Tesla's array of charging locations). I wish that writers would discover the facts before they mislead readers. The real answer is a mix of the best of all differing solutions.

  • toosmartforyou Kaysville, UT
    Dec. 12, 2017 7:40 a.m.

    Vehicles should be built that are fueled by natural gas as the standard model and if you want a gasoline engine, pay more. They have it just backwards. This could be legislated, just like years ago when California was the first State with requirements for pollution standards and catalytic converters on all new vehicles. But it will never happen....

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Dec. 12, 2017 6:36 a.m.

    I really don't like the word sustainably.

  • Cheesecake Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2017 9:13 p.m.

    Check your air filters!

    Ours was only a month old, and was already caked with dust. The result: our furnace was working harder than it needed, and not moving a whole lot of air through the house. Same goes for cars--both engine filters and cabin filters. Clogged filters in cars and furnaces make those machines run longer and work harder, resulting in more fuel used, more pollution, and more junk in the air we all breathe. Purchasing an electric car may not be in the cards for most folks, but a $10 air filter will easily pay for itself, and your lungs will appreciate it.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Dec. 11, 2017 7:26 p.m.

    Electric cars are still overly expensive with limited range and long refusing times.

    Compressed natural gas, in contrast, performs roughly on par with gasoline while burning 50 to 90% cleaner depending on what specific pollutant you look at. Natural gas is also plentiful domestically and particularly here in Utah.

    Sadly, it is tough to find a CNG or duel fuel car from the factory and EPA regs make conversion kits needlessly costly.

    CNG is a great mobile fuel. Nuclear generated electricity is a very good fixed energy source.

    Aggressively advancing both would reduce pollution while also reducing our dependence on mid east oil. That would improve our national security.

  • Jbejarano Eagle Mountain, UT
    Dec. 11, 2017 7:17 p.m.

    The 48 percent figure of vehicle pollution does not take into count the temperature. As temperature decreases area source pollutants increase. Why are we not advocating for lower thermostats to limit secondary PM 2.5 material that develops from our gas furnaces. If everyone lowered their indoor thermostat by Two degrees we would breath easier.

  • skier Heber City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2017 6:24 p.m.

    Interesting that as pollution gets worse the legislature has cut the state tax credit for electric cars, and now congress in considering doing the same. There are a lot of costs to all of us when more and more combustion engines are added as the state grows without end. I hope we can use incentives to help get more electric cars on the road. Meanwhile shale drilling continues unabated in the basin.

    On a flight into SLC yesterday I overheard several people commenting on the gross air as we landed. Pollution is going to catch up to Utah sooner than later.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2017 6:21 p.m.

    @NoNamesAccepted
    Southern California wildfires were being fueled by Santa Ana winds blowing east to west, not a trajectory that directly leads to smoke blowing to Utah. A couple months ago when we had the nasty air quality days with all the wildfires in the northwest that was the overwhelming source of the issue.

    A portion of the pollution in our wintertime inversions (kind of varies by situation) does come from outside sources but by itself it'd be a slower growth to get to some of the air quality thresholds. Roughly half of our local sources for this pollution is from vehicles.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Dec. 11, 2017 5:39 p.m.

    What proportion of Wasatch Front pollution is from fires or other sources upwind in Cali or Nevada?

    In other words, if every last human moved out of Utah and all human activity ceased, what would the air quality be along the Wasatch Front this week?