EPA moves to protect Utah residents from elevated ozone

Smog over Salt Lake City. Photo by E P Kosmicki.

Last year, Utah failed to meet the deadline to comply with the national air quality standard for ozone, prompting reconsideration of the attainment status by the EPA. The state legislature attempted to dodge accountability by blaming the ozone levels on activity in Asia, a claim that was, thankfully, denied by the EPA this week. UPHE supports a reclassification of attainment status because it would force the state to do more to clean up the air and reduce emissions. 

A KSL article quoted UPHE founder, Dr. Brian Moench, on the matter. “We should not forget that this saga was a betrayal of the public trust by our most powerful politicians that allowed our biggest industrial polluters to hijack the expertise and personnel of a critical state agency” Dr. Moench said. 

Ozone is generated when oxides of nitrogen (NOX ) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) react with sunlight. Vehicle emissions, industry pollution, and pesticide spraying are some major contributors of ozone along the Wasatch Front. Ozone is horrible for lung function. 

To reduce your own ozone contribution, use public transportation and carpool when you can, and speak out against the major offending industries, like the Utah Inland Port and the Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District. 

Until June 13, the EPA will accept public comments on their decision. We urge you to take just a minute and tell the EPA how important clean air is to you, and that they should finalize their ruling to not allow Utah an exemption. Click here to speak up and help make this ruling stick.

Utah already being out of compliance for ozone should be reason enough for the state to put a halt on polluting projects, like the Inland Port, which are sure to drastically increase pollution and ozone levels. Rather than reconsider what is in the best interest of Utah residents, the legislature is still pushing projects that fill the pockets of a few, and harm the health of many. 

Read the KSL article here.

Read our press release on the EPA’s rejection of Utah’s request to raise ozone level.

The Unita Basin area is also struggling to meet clean air standards.