It’s no exaggeration to state that air pollution has become the dominant environmental issue in northern Utah over the past few years. When the smoggy inversions we all dread settle into northern Utah’s urban valleys, our levels of fine particle pollution (PM 2.5) reach “unhealthy” for everyone, before the weather changes and the toxic funk lifts.
Utah is officially “out of attainment” with federal Clean Air Act guidelines limiting PM2.5 pollution. Those are tiny particles of dust and pollutants which burrow deep into our lungs and even enter our blood and organs, harming the health of our children and families. It’s a problem most noted in mid-winter, when soot builds up in our valleys, as weather stagnates. Increasingly though, our invisible summertime ozone problem is mounting and will also cause our state to fail to meet federal air quality standards in this respect as well.
Emissions from our cars, homes, businesses and industry are all responsible, driving levels of fine particle pollution well above safe levels. We at HEAL believe that there is no one answer to the dirty air that plagues our valleys. We must clean up our cars and trucks and encourage people to ride transit, bicycle and walk more. However, we also need to make our buildings, homes and businesses as efficient and clean as possible, limiting the pollution they emit. And, lastly, we need to make sure that heavy industry does everything it can to reduce pollution, rather than the modest cuts it has put in place recently.
Beginning in 2012, HEAL began working hard to urge state officials to do more to clean the air. Thousands of Utahns have joined us, participating in online actions sending strong messages to policymakers, attending historic rallies on the steps of the Capitol, and packing hearings where key air quality decisions are made.
We’ve pushed for state support of federal gas and car standards, advocated for more funding for monitoring equipment, encouraged the Division of Air Quality to require deeper emissions cuts, particularly to industrial pollution, and also worked hard behind the scenes with state legislators to develop dozens of air quality measures.
To learn more about that work, check out the video we made in 2013! “Smog Attack!”
In just a few years, Clean Air has become one of our core issues. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished – and know that with your support we’ll continue to do everything we can to make our beautiful valleys safe for everyone.
Recent Posts about Clean Air…
Matt chats with Nazz, the CEO of Petzl America, about the outdoor company, its products and its involvement in policy issues. They talk first about Petzl's history and products, and how the company makes gear not just for rock climbers, but for anyone who works in "a vertical environment," from firefighters to window washers. Nazz then talks about the company's decision to be a strong voice on important health and environmental issues, from air quality to the health of the Colorado River to protecting Bears Ears. Lastly, they chat about the recent announcement that the Outdoor Retailer shows will be leaving Utah, and Nazz' disappointment with the development. For more information about Petzl, check out its Website, its Facebook page and on Instagram.
Elizabeth Joy and Steve Bergstrom
Salt Lake Tribune
First Published May 20 2017 03:00PM
In the Utah Foundation's 2016 Utah Priorities Project survey, Utah voters statewide ranked air quality as the second most important issue in 2016, and voters along the Wasatch Front ranked air quality as the number one most important issue.
This won't be news to anyone. In fact, the American Lung Association's State of the Air 2017 report ranks the Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem area as the seventh worst in the U.S. for shorter-term spikes in particle pollution, a regular occurrence during wintertime temperature inversions. Logan was ranked eighth.
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MAY 16, 2017
SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Governor Gary Herbert touted improvements to the state's air quality, but acknowledged that more needed to be done.
During a ceremonial bill signing on Tuesday at Ensign Elementary School, the governor highlighted steps the state has taken to reduce pollution. He signed a resolution encouraging people to purchase vehicles with better smog ratings, one that gets Utah a piece of the massive Volkswagen pollution settlement, one dealing with the Air Quality Board, and another that encourages schools to purchase natural gas-powered buses.
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