If you want clean air we need a strong EPA
UPHE believe strongly in preserving the current role of the EPA and the Clean Air Act that requires regular revisions of the national air quality standards (NAAQS) and does not allow “economic” considerations to override public health protection. Nonetheless, studies show that less pollution is always an economic stimulus, not a liability. Over the last several years UPHE has had an opportunity to work with the EPA, including filing legal briefs in defense of the EPA’s attempt to hold Utah accountable for complying with the NAAQS. Under Obama’s administration we observed a change in the EPA in the direction of more aggressive defense of the NAAQS. While we are disappointed in a few decisions the EPA has made to delay implementation of some new standards, ozone in particular, overall the EPA under this administration has improved its profile in holding Utah’s state agencies to those standards. The current EPA will likely make standards more strict for PM2.5 after the election, which would have a significant impact on the Wasatch Front. The election of candidates who speak of loosening regulations or rolling back those standards would be a major set back to our efforts.
Preservation of the Wasatch Mountains is
critical for protecting our watershed
The role of the Wasatch Mountains as critical watershed–think of it as our “water bank”–for the Wasatch Front will only be magnified as the climate warms, our snow pack shrinks and our water resources diminish. A deciduous forest holds 14 times more water than an open field. Water pollution is just as important as air pollution. More development through Skilink, ski resort expansion, or housing development will degrade our water quality. The increase in contamination from “urbanization” of the mountains cannot be compensated for by ramping up water treatment because many contaminants are not removed by water treatment.
The Las Vegas/ Snake Valley Water Grab would likely
be the greatest Utah environmental catastrophe
after the climate crisis itself
Gov. Herbert still seems inclined to sign an agreement with Nevada that, regardless of whether it was a “fair” split, would ultimately lead to the draining of the massive aquifers under central Nevada and western Utah, turning the the Great Basin Desert into another Sahara Desert and there is big difference. Dust from the Sahara reaches all the way around the globe, especially to Europe and Asia. The Southern Nevada Water Authority’s claim that dewatering an area the size of Vermont, upwind of the Wasatch Front won’t create a dust nightmare for us is brazen dishonesty. Utah needs elected officials who will fight Nevada every inch of the way to make sure this doesn’t happen.
Our transportation model must change
To a large extent the Wasatch Front is making the same mistakes that virtually everyone recognizes Los Angeles made, degenerating into urban sprawl and automobile dependency. With a population expected to increase significantly for several decades, improving or even maintaining existing air quality will be virtually impossible unless we start electing state and local officials willing to take money away from UDOT and give it to mass transit and alternative means of transportation.
Please keep these issues in mind when you vote. And if you have not yet donated to our legal defense fund to fight the expansion of the Tesoro refinery, please do so
either at our website, UPHE.org, or send a check to:
795 18th Av.
SLC, UT 84103
Utah Physicians for Healthy Environment is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. UPHE.org is copyright protected. Design & implementation by Clayhaus Consulting.