A SLC environmental injustice

Photo by Tony Frates

Salt Lake City’s west side has been exposed to various environmental injustices, adversely affected by polluting industries. It is one of the main reasons we have been opposed to the Utah Inland Port’s operations being placed there. The west side’s exposure to environmental toxins “dates back to a housing tactic, known as redlining, that existed nearly a century ago and aimed to keep minority homeowners out of desired parts of the city” a KSL article writes. 

The KSL article identifies another source of decreased air quality on the west side- urban forests, citing that east side neighborhoods have two to six times the amount of urban forest canopy as west side neighborhoods. Trees are crucial to protect public health and clean the air. 

Luckily, there are plans in place to take action on this issue.

KSL reports goals of the program include “to increase the urban forest more equitably so that the historic divide in trees can be closed… a net gain of about 3,300 trees would even out the difference of trees on the west side today.

  • Ensure adequate protection of the urban forest as a public good through land use policy and land management practice. This may include trees dictating future landscaping policies
  • Codify the city’s commitment to sustainable infrastructure
  • Value the urban forest for the entire range of ecosystem and quality-of-life benefits it provides
  • Provide solutions in the right-of-way that will accommodate trees, access and utilities where they compete for the same space
  • Guide urban forest priorities and preservation for project reviewers and inspectors

Click here for the KSL article.