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 Michael Cundick and Darin Mann, executive director and action director (respectively) for the local grassroots effort known as Salt Lake City Air Protectors. Michael and Darin explain the origins of the new group, which grew out of the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The new nonprofit is less interested in advocating specific air quality policies and more on building a grassroots movement, the two explained. They described how they hope to be truly community-based effort with a decentralized movement which champions diverse, local efforts. Michael and Darin describe how their effort is different than another new group that grew out of the pipeline protests, known as PANDOS, or Peaceful Advocates for Native Dialogue and Ongoing Support. For more information, check out the SLC Air Protector's website and Facebook page.Read more...
Inversion Season is coming. You know, that stretch of the year when Utah's unique geography turns our happy valley into a soupy, gunky mess of pollution. It's hard to breathe, it damages our health, and forces us inside.
Fortunately, this year HEAL Utah and a powerful coalition of nonprofit and health allies have come together to help West Salt Lake communities prepare! Learn all about how to protect your health and home this Saturday, November 18that the Breathe Clean Festival.
What: Breathe Clean Festival
When: Saturday, November 18th from 10 AM-1 PM
Where: Glendale Library, 1375 South Concord Street, Salt Lake City, 84104
We will be providing FREE inversion masks, FREE window insulation kits, FREE flu shots, FREE LED lights, FREE blood pressure screenings, plus FREE food, coffee and snacks, educational workshops, and children's entertainment. That is a whole lot of free, and it's because HEAL and our allies believe that you deserve a healthy home, a healthy community, and a city that values you and your right to a healthy life.
So join us for the Breath Clean Festival, and equip and educate yourself and family for this upcoming inversion season. Also, though this email is not bilingual, this event will be available both in English and Spanish, so let your Spanish-speaking neighbors now that we would love to see them on Saturday!
Together in Good Health,
Noah E. Miterko | HEAL Utah Grassroots Organizer
(801) 919-4804Read more...
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah ranks among the highest producers of toxic chemicals in the United States, according to data and information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
A Forbes.com report shows that the Beehive State was No. 3 behind only Alaska and Nevada in the amount of toxins released into the environment during 2016, the year with the most recently available data.
The Toxic Releases Inventory report includes data from over 18,000 facilities nationwide, covering industries such as chemicals, manufacturing, mining and utilities. The total releases were measured in pounds of approximately 650 different toxins that were determined to have considerable negative impacts on humans and/or the environment.
"We know that there is a decent amount of pollution produced and released into the environment," said Jessica Reimer, policy associate with Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah. "(The ranking) underscores the importance of ensuring that state policies and regulations are doing their job to protect Utah families, especially in one of the most population-dense counties in Utah."
To read more, click here.Read more...