Takeaways for Utah from the 2023 State of the Air report

The American Lung Association annually releases a report on the air quality of the country’s major cities, “State of the Air.” The report came a day after winds over the Great Basin dumped dust all over the Wasatch Front, even as it rained. It seemed to many people that it was raining mud. But you can expect a lot more of that if we continue with business as usual, and keep electing a legislature that doesn’t care.

Here are some key takeaways for Utah in the report:

• Salt Lake City ranks 10th in the U.S. for worst ozone pollution, and 19th for worst short term particle pollution.

• Logan is 17th for worst short term particle pollution.

• Seven Utah counties get an F grade for the number of “high ozone days” — Davis, Duchesne, Salt Lake, Tooele, Uintah, Utah and Weber. Box Elder received a D grade.

• Only two counties — Iron and Garfield — received a B grade for ozone pollution. No counties scored an A.

• Five counties get an F grade for the number of “high particle pollution days” — Cache, Davis, Salt Lake, Tooele and Utah. Both Weber and Duchesne counties received a D.

• Washington County is the only county that received a B grade, again the highest score in Utah for particle pollution.

Inland Ports in Utah will only increase diesel truck traffic. Mobile emissions are one of the leading sources of pollution along the Wasatch Front. Photo by Jack Bozarth.

If the inland port actually happens, if we don’t get water to the Great Salt Lake, if we allow Rio Tinto and Geneva to expand, and turn Parley’s Canyon into a massive gravel pit, and if we keep building endless freeways, this report will never get any better. You can take this air quality report card from the American Lung Association as a surrogate for a health report card for yourself and your family. If you don’t like your health report card, then get involved with these battles!

Read the Deseret News coverage on the report here.