It’s Utah’s job to clean up the air

An excellent in-house editorial from the Salt Lake Tribune last week explains why it’s Utah’s job to clean up the air, regardless of where pollution is coming from. Utah recently attempted to dodge ozone standards after persuasion from the Utah Mining Association (UMA) and Utah Petroleum Association (UPA), claiming ozone was coming from Asia, and Utah should not be responsible for reducing levels. Luckily for Utahns, the EPA rejected their request for exemption. 

George Pyle, author of the Tribune editorial, writes “If you live in Utah, high ozone levels are likely burning your lungs, shortening your life and generally making our state an unhealthy place to live. So it doesn’t really matter that some, or even most, of the airborne chemicals involved drifted here from somewhere else, or are caused by nature rather than humans.”

This is the unfortunate reality of living in an area with poor air quality. Utahns need lawmakers and local politicians to stand up against polluting projects that emphasize the use of fossil fuels and contribute to air pollution. Instead of protecting public health with progressive air quality policy, many of our politicians have protected the pockets of project proponents of things like the Utah Inland Port, and the Uinta Basin Railway. 

“The fact that the state of Utah, its Department of Environmental Quality in particular and its political class in general, needs the federal government to point that out to them is not a good look for “The Best Managed State.”

“That Utah was claiming it shouldn’t be held to account for bad air — the sometimes really, really bad air — flows from the fact that the powers that be in the Beehive State are more devoted to the excavation, marketing and burning of fossil fuels that they are to the health of residents. And that it isn’t fair that those activities might have to be limited to accomplish the federally and morally required goal of reducing ozone and other pollution” Pyle writes. 

These politicians won’t change unless we pressure them to or vote them out. 

Call your local politicians and tell them that clean, breathable air needs to be their top priority to get your vote next election. 

Click here to read the editorial.

The Utah statehouse is quite literally fueled by coal. Photo by E P Kosmicki.