On this page we will discuss the Wasatch Front's Smog & pollution, what the Wasatch Front needs to do about it; its effect on the rest of the State, Air Quality throughout the rest of the State & what the rest of the State needs to do about it; the impact of agriculture, automobiles, fireplaces, industrial pollution and the Natural pollution in this State, etc.
'Climate Crisis' & 'Amazon Forest Fires'
Human-kind has things we can do to influence Mother Nature, but we need a lot of time and effort to actually change our environment. Some of our 'fixes' aren't! Some of our intentions, we hope are good, but often are just another way we muck things up. The real tell takes a bigger picture than many of us are inclined to give each other.
We may be in a self-created "Climate Crisis" only because we don't understand the bigger picture. The real evaluation will come with time ONLY. Almost all of our 'scientific' information about our air, water, and environment are literally 'snapshots' of a particular location at a specific time. Over the years, significant 'snapshots' show a trend ... but to say the entire planet is in a 'crisis' is a leap! Several areas are impacted and may be problems (Love Canal, strip-mines in West VA., Chernobyl, ... etc.) but because there are huge fires in the Amazon Forest does not mean the Amazon Forest is broken and can't heal itself. That type of reaction is too reactionary, based on pure assumption and NO FACTS! Like it or not, fire is a natural phenomenon and part of nature. We have found (e.g., Yellowstone, etc.) that trying to stop natural phenomenon can do as much damage as not doing enough.
Saying that, as our kind of disclaimer, we realize Air Quality in the Wasatch Front is well below par. Denver's Brown Cloud HAS improved and has been almost eliminated, but the Wasatch Front is not Denver!! Different factors differentiate every site - Denver doesn't have the Mountain encircling it as Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Front does. The 'Inversions' in Utah aren't as extreme as the ones in the Uintah Basin, but the air in the Uintah Basin isn't as bad as the Wasatch Front (I know, there is a difference in population by a significant factor, but that just goes to re-enforce the 'different factors' point above).
Much work needs to be done. Much study has already been accomplished, but more needs to be done. And the work we have done needs to be evaluated to see if we are moving in the right direction not just over-reacting.
Utah has undergone studies of the air quality in the Wasatch Front. EPAs data shows air inversions and increased population in the confines of the Salt Lake Valley are only part of the problem.
That is one thing the EPA does which I find no problem with is better studying and better-quality level of research. Federal Government can assist the States with their studies and research – Public Health issues, Water or Air quality studies, etc. But mandating ‘their’ regulations and programs isn’t the “Proper Role of Government.” This is an area the States have the responsibility – according to the 10th Amendment. So let’s look at what Utah is doing in this regard.
Utah has its own Department of Environmental Quality (or DEQ) with a Division of Air Quality (or DAQ). “DEQ maintains an Air Monitoring Center to determine air quality conditions and the DAQ scientists use the information from these monitors to assess daily air quality, issue health advisories and announce voluntary and mandatory actions to reduce emissions. Advisories are based on the Air Quality Index (AQI).” – quoting from UCAIR website about DAQ.
One of the factors fairly unique to Utah is the surrounding mountains help build winter inversions, which trap the polluted air in the valley.
The air-monitoring system installed in the Wasatch front locations is good information and can show trends. These trends can lead us to see larger impacts, but we are all working to improve things. One of the things Covid-19 has done, with the shelter at home and business closure, has been the air is cleaner due to limited traffic on the highways!! But once it is 'over' we may get back to the 'Bad Air' we often have in the winter (inversion season) and ozone in the summers.
Bad air leads to respiratory issues, causing those with less than ideal respiratory systems to be in distress and having to stay indoors; for younger children it can also bring on breathing issues earlier, for the elderly and adults with breathing issues it can be life threatening . . . it isn't good!
To fight the 'Bad Air' several groups have popped up. Groups have been organized, such as Breath Utah and UCAIR to work on the problem. UCAIR is one of the biggest and most active groups in the state.
UCAIR isn’t the only group working in Utah, there is also the Utah Clean Air Alliance (UCAA), and Breath Utah – as mentioned earlier. The Alliance is a broad-based coalition of health, faith, business, civic, and environmental groups dedicated to cleaning up Utah’s dirty air. Believing there is strength in numbers, UCAA strives for the broadest possible alliance. Using its diversity of expertise, the UCAA will develop policy recommendations and educational outreach campaigns that increase awareness and fuel collective action towards improving the air quality in Utah.
The above mentioned groups show Clean Air is important to Utahns, not just those on the Wasatch Front. They are also examples of what a business and government partnership can do for some of these issues – such as Cleaner Air. It doesn’t take huge government programs from Washington D.C. to make progress. It doesn’t take massive amounts of money to make a difference.
Our administration would continue to support such groups, working together to bring better air and better solutions to improve all aspects of our state, for a Brighter, Healthier and Better Utah.
Crowd of people wanting a better way, a constitutional proper solution to the issues of government.