This is a super important message from Heal Utah:
Strike up a conversation with a fellow northern Utah resident and you may find yourself commiserating about one significant drawback of living here: the dirty air. (Lots more detail below, but if you're in a hurry, click here to do our clean air action alert!)
It's the one obvious "big city" problem which communities from Logan to Provo struggle with: funky smog that fouls our vistas and poisons our bodies. We already knew that dangerous levels of air pollution were a serious problem for pregnant women, children, athletes, the elderly and anyone with breathing issues, but this past week we learned that leading global health experts have officially classified dirty air as a carcinogen.
Over the past couple years, HEAL has joined the groups and activists fighting to clean up the Wasatch Front's dirty air. This past summer, you may recall, we successfully convinced thousands of Utahns – including Gov. Gary Herbert – to endorse tough new standards on vehicles and gas.
And, now, we're working to pressure the state Division of Air Quality to improve its plan to cut down on fine particle pollution, aka soot, aka PM 2.5. Before we tell you a bit more about that campaign, we'd love to ask you to take a moment and click on our special action alert page and let state officials know you'd like to see deeper cuts to area air pollution. Click here.
Let us first say that we appreciate all the hard work that state officials did to meet federal Clean Air Act targets limiting PM 2.5 pollution. However, as we scrutinized their plan, we soon discovered what we think are some clear gaps in their proposals. You can read more of that analysis on a pair of fact sheets we developed: here and here.
Here's several excerpts from those documents:
- Nearly all of the cuts that are helping Utah meet its clean air goals are due to federal action: More than four out of five tons of pollutants that will be taken out of air are due to EPA rules. Utah can do more.
- Heavy industry – our copper mine and smelter, refineries, steel mills, natural gas power plants, factories and more – will collectively pollute 12 percent more in 2019 than they did in 2010. That’s unacceptable – given the toll of that pollution and the fact that other sectors are making deep cuts. Utah’s industries can do more.
- If you look at the increase from just Kennecott’s three facilities, you’ll see they alone will eat into nearly 60 percent of all the cuts Utah officials have realized from passing more than two dozen new rules governing homes and businesses.
We hope you share our concerns about Utah's air quality plan. If so, please let state officials know. The comment deadline is just 7 days away, don't put it off!