Clean Air

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.

The Issue

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.

Taking Action

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.


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Recent Posts about Clean Air…

OP-ED: Guest opinion: Good clean air progress; more needs to be done

Rep Steve Handy
March 19th, 2018

When I began my legislative service, I asked one of the senior legislators how he thought I could make a difference? His answer, “Just listen to your constituents, they’ll tell you what to do.”

So I have listened and what I continually hear, is, “What are you doing to clean up our air?” Several years ago I joined the bi-partisan Clean Air Caucus. I listened to scientists and clean air advocates and learned that even though our air is better today than it was 10 plus years ago, some counties, both in urban and rural areas, are out of compliance.

I also learned that nearly 50% of our problems on the Wasatch Front come from tailpipe admissions. I applaud organizations like UCAIR for their continual efforts at education encouraging each person to take responsibility for less driving, especially on red-air days.


Read the full article here


NEWS: Radioactive: March 14, 2018

Lara Jones
March 14th, 2018

WoC Support Group at Rape Recovery Center, Legislative Recap with SL Tribune's Robert Gehrke, Rep. Becky Edwards, and a Host of Green Groups


Listen to the full podcast here


NEWS: Scott Pruit's EPA drags its feet on controlling pollution

Maya L. Kapoor
High Country News
March 14th, 2018

In Utah, the Wasatch Range forms a bowl holding Salt Lake City and the surrounding communities, where the majority of Utahns live. Each winter, a warm temperature layer known as an inversion seals the bowl shut, trapping in dangerous levels of air pollution. The gas that comes from smoke stacks and tailpipes reacts with sunlight, forming ground-level ozone, also called smog, which has long been known to cause childhood asthma and premature deaths. Some tree species also struggle to survive when smog levels get too high, says Seth Johnson, a staff attorney with the environmental advocacy nonprofit Earthjustice. “They don’t grow as well as they did. Some of them will have their leaves blacken, which is a blight.” Other Western cities such as Los Angeles and Denver, as well as more rural areas, also struggle with smog problems.

In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency set tighter restrictions on the levels of smog allowed in the country, which should have gone into effect by the fall of 2017. But the EPA, under the Trump administration, has delayed implementing them. That has become a common strategy at Scott Pruitt’s EPA: When it comes to enacting new environmental regulations, the agency stalls.


Read the full article here




  1. Great post! Sadly, 80% of the population in the world is exposed to PM 2.5.

  2. I’d need to check with you here. Which is not a
    thing I usually do! I love reading a post which will
    make people think. Also, thanks for letting me to comment!

  3. I tried to sign up for updates to get involved but I
    After inputting all my info and submitting, I got an error. “page could not be found.”

  4. It is time to take A Stand! Wile we still can there is A trump,et blowing the charge for fossel fuels ,If we do not make our stand Sat 21,17 We may not be able to hold the small ground we have taken back,,,, Rusty Healey photography

  5. Please share my story of the personal impact of our the UT air. Hey everyone, I started a fundraising campaign for Reunite this Mother and Daughter. Please tap to donate- in UT. Thank you.

  6. If you are going to make an impact, lets start with all these diesel guys that modify their trucks by removing emissions control systems!

  7. I would really like to see the public transit receive more support. Having good public access that connect utah county with salt lake county would major relief to our road system.

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