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Just because we have healthy residents in SLC doesn't mean that pollution is not a problem that shouldn't be addressed. Short or long term pollution is still pollution and both have serious health consequences (also short and long term.)
Nor does it mean that a population of healthy individuals are not effected by breathing toxic waste, even if it's for two months out of the year. Those stats have a lot to do with 50% of the population that doesn't drink, smoke or indulge in other extracurricular activities that may shorten their life span. Top that off with the outdoor Utah lifestyle and of course SLC will have a healthier overall populace. It's certainly not proof that pollution is not harmful to the people that live in the valley(s) however.
Not saying the air is not a problem, I was just replying to the point made "That pollution makes our community sick, reduces our quality of life,".
Nicely done video. Puts it out there as it should be. But I'm sure many "the glass is half full" folks will just continue to dismiss how bad it really is and how much worse it is about to get. Just as I thought the governor will look the other way in order to foster more commerce and a growing economy, all at the expense of the general public's health welfare. I knew all along Kennecott was spewing more and more junk. I can at times see the results on our property, be it residue on the windows or other areas the sediment settles when they are doing their digging. On those high wind days you can see the junk flowing out of the top of the excavation hole of the Bingham mine. Scary stuff.....
This weekend we went down to St. George and the stark contrast between the situation down here and the situation in Salt Lake/Provo/Ogden is what is making me post on this topic again. No serious air quality problem down in St. George at all.
I am tired of the "cover your head in the sand attitude" that is so prevalent about the air quality problem in Northern Utah I agree the problem does not have an easy solution. However, that doesn't mean that nothing can be done about it. Here are some realistic ideas for dealing with the problem:
1. Require gas stations to sell a cleaner fuel. Such fuels are sold on the west coast and are environmentally mandated in those states.
2. Relocate the oil refineries in Bountiful and North Salt Lake out in the desert towards Wendover.
3. Require motorists to designate one day a week in December/January/February that they won't be driving a car. Perhaps, those who are willing to pay a special tax should be exempted. The proceeds of the tax could go to help fund the Department of Environmental Quality.
4. As some earlier posts have suggested, begin eliminating drive throughs at fast food restaurants, banks, pharmacies, and other businesses that have them. Perhaps, an exemption could be made for the handicapped.
5. Strict penalties for those who burn wood in their fireplace in violation of these laws.
6. More incentives to encourage carpooling. Eliminating or reducing parking areas might do much to encourage carpooling.
7. More expansion of light rail. Don't be pennywise and pound foolish. Understand that those riding mass transit are benefitting others besides themselves. This is why its appropriate to charge riders less than the cost of the service and have the taxpayers make up the difference.
8. Creation of more walking and bicycle paths.
If this isn't a serious health problem yet, it will be one very soon. I'm further concerned that ten years from now when it is a real serious problem that we'll all still be acting like there isn't a damn thing anyone can do. There is. The first step is a believing that something can actually be done to solve the problem if we are willing to make sacrifices to do so.
1. Expand no-idling ordinances and immediately switch from education (no fines being issued) to hardcore enforcement.
2. Shut down all drive-in service on yellow and red days.
3. Do not allow the DAQ to approve any increases in permitted emissions from business/industry. The Governor's initiative calls on individuals to do their part to reduce emissions. Industry cannot be allowed to keep increasing emissions at the same time that citizens are guilted into reducing their own emissions.
4. Give the DAQ more power, means, and requirements to monitor and fine businesses that exceed their permitted emissions.
5. Expand and build upon the Governor's UCAIR program. Business leaders, health experts, mothers, autistic and asthmatic children, sports figures, bishops, etc. This needs to be so pervasive and infectious that public awareness of the issue creates a united effort to all work together, change behavior, change laws and regulations, etc., until we create a sustainably healthy northern Utah both for residents and for continued tourism.
6. Add enough of a tax on gas, diesel, and aviation fuel that behavior is modified - this is probably the most effective way to reduce miles driven/flown, increase use of mass transit, and to encourage ownership of more fuel efficient vehicles. I'd suggest 25-35% additional tax, and use of the money should be restricted by statute to only activities that will improve Utah's air quality.
7. Require fume capture devices on fuel pump nozzles. This is just so simple, and also very telling of how unseriously we are taking the air pollution problem that we don't already have them in Utah.
8. Implement a comprehensive overhaul of our streets and sidewalks so that walking and biking are safer and a more viable option. There are many programs and models out there to copy. Walking and biking in the Salt Lake valley is scary and completely disjointed. It's not planned for in the design phase or in reconstruction. It's currently a mess, it's completely car-oriented, it's a public safety issue, and it puts many people in cars that would be happy to walk/bike if the planning and infrastructure was there.
9. Eliminate the child tax credit on state tax forms. We should not be using tax policy to reduce the cost of child-rearing. We should not be doing anything that enables population growth when population growth is one of the biggest contributors to our air pollution problem. Growth is literally making us sick and making us die sooner!
10. Require much higher energy efficiency of all new building.
11. Implement a square footage cap of 10,000 sq. ft. for all new residential construction.
12. Implement a special tax assessment for square footage over 10,000 for existing residences, and similar to the special gas tax, restrict the use of the money to activities that will improve Utah's air quality.
13. Increase vehicle licensing fees inversely to mpg - the worse the mpg of your vehicle, the more you should have to pay to license it. (again, restrict government's use of the money to air pollution reduction)
14. Implement state government co-sponsored rebates with utilities/business for home efficiency evaluations and efficiency improvements - either through expansion of direct rebates or through tax credits.
15. Traffic planning needs to make traffic flow run more smoothly; such as better coordination of stop lights so you spend more time moving and less time stopping and idling, more round-abouts versus stop signs, more yield signs versus stop signs, etc...
16. We are down-wind of several coal-fired electric plants. Shut them down if they cannot be converted to natural gas. Work with industry and the federal government to develop clean energy supplies for northern Utah. We have a lot of sunny days here for solar, and we're not far from expanding wind farms in WY. Plenty of public land/space for geothermal, too.
17. I couldn't find any legislative committee that focuses on air pollution. Create one.
18. Work with University of Utah and Utah State to create an action-oriented research, experimentation, and implementation consortium. Include industry, venture capitalists, government grants, etc. Let's design and implement our own home-grown solutions. Let's become leaders in the field of solutions to air pollution.
Drastically improving Utah's air quality is not the path of least resistance, and in the short term it is not the path of highest profits for business. But, it is the path that we need to pursue for public health. In the long-term, it will also ensure that tourists will still want to come here and spend money and that businesses and people will want to live here for the quality of life.
krpnslc I hope you are in the political field!! I would vote for you! Your ideas are sound and intelligent!!
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