City Weekly: The Kids are Not Alright

We are on the doorstep of our usual winter inversion season, and the forecast predicts inversion to begin next week. The timing of the The City Weekly’s lead article, The Kids are Not Alright, is spot on in regards to our air pollution problem and mentions UPHE health concerns.

UPHE estimates that between 1,000 to 2,000 people die in Utah yearly as a result of complications stemming from poor air quality. These premature deaths include not only those with respiratory illnesses like asthma but also those with coronary heart disease for which poor air quality is a contributing factor.

The article is a good one, though it does make the common mistake of parroting the state’s talking point that industry is only responsible for a small fraction of our air pollution problem. UPHE did a formal town hall presentation five years ago challenging the state’s industry friendly statistics on that. Other clean air groups may focus on changing individual behavior as the key to improving our air. While that is certainly important, we feel it is even more important to change public policy, which is set by our politicians.

UPHE . . . is deeply concerned about the potential for rising levels of pollution from the proposed inland port. The group’s board president, Brian Moench, speculates traffic and toxins from the port could mean a 5% rise in levels of pollution, contributing to the premature deaths of thousands of Utahns every year.

You can’t fault people for not using mass transit if it is not reasonably available, convenient and cost effective. We can all reduce our use of fossil fuels, and we must. But it is no surprise that a state that continues to prioritize dirty energy is going have a pollution problem, especially when our population center sits in the middle of a geographic bowl.

Read full article here and see the full City Weekly issue bellow: