Air Quality

Courtesty: Intermountain Medical Center

New evidence is emerging from the Wasatch Front about the effects of air pollution on health, thanks to researchers at Intermountain Medical Center who studied heart attacks over more than two decades. What they found in the four Wasatch Front counties is that, when concentrations of microscopic soot pollution reach 25 parts per million concentration, the likelihood of suffering what’s called a STEMI heart attack goes up too.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Utah leaders want to clean up the air even as the state grows in population and economic output. A daylong symposium next week focuses on how to accomplish both.

Courtesy: / Kennecott Utah Copper

Environmental groups are applauding Rio Tinto’s decision to scrap its permit for a new rock crushing plant at Kennecott's copper mine.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Environmental groups have ideas for regulators about cutting the industrial emissions that contribute to Utah’s winter pollution.

The Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, HEAL Utah and Western Resource Advocates say air pollution harms quality of life in Utah too much of the time.

“Folks in Utah know this because your kinds can’t go out and play on the playground,” says Joan Clayburgh, spokeswoman for Western Resource Advocates. “Our grandparents and our parents and the elderly are told maybe not to go out during the day. This is our right to have clean air.”

Anna M. / Flickr Creative Commons

What if air pollution spikes don’t just make it harder to breathe but also make it harder to think?

That’s a question Dustin Hammers wants to answer in a study getting underway at the University of Utah. He’s a clinical neuropsychologist at the University of Utah’s Alzheimer’s Center who’s beginning a study on how spikes of wintertime pollution affect cognition.

Tesoro Corporation

One of Utah’s major sources of industrial air pollution, Tesoro Refinery, is on track to get a federal Clean Air Act permit after operating for more than 15 years without one. Utah environmental regulators reached a settlement agreement Tuesday with conservation groups who had sued the state for failing to issue the permit.

espensorvik / Flickr Creative Commons

Emissions from cars and industry are usually what Utahns talk about when they debate how to cut pollution. But the category called “area sources” that includes homes and business buildings is expected to become the state’s biggest pollution source in a few years.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Wildfire smoke from the Northwest has kept Utah’s skies hazy and polluted. But storms ahead promise at least a temporary reprieve.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Steve Thon works for Provident Energy, and he’s showing off an exterior wall in a highly efficient home at the Daybreak development.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Utahns care about their air – more so than just about anything except education and water. That’s what a think tank told lawmakers Wednesday during a hearing on Capitol Hill.

Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is ramping up its Idle Free campaign in an effort to combat skyrocketing summertime air pollution.

Brian Grimmett

Salt Lake and Davis Counties logged their first Red Air Days of the summer season Wednesday.

Judy Fahys/KUER

State regulators are forecasting increasing pollution over the next couple of days. It’s a sign that the ozone pollution season is getting underway and that it’s time to start paying attention to preventing it and taking precautions.

Jacob B. Frank / National Park Service

State air-quality officials have updated plans to clean up haze in the skies around Utah’s national parks, and they’re sending it to federal regulators for their approval over the objections of environmental advocates.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Spring is typically a time when northern Utah’s air is pretty clean, but the business community doesn’t want clear skies to let political leaders forget that improving air quality is essential for making Utah an attractive place to do business.

Courtesy DEQ

An environmental group is opposing the renewal of an air quality permit for Stericycle’s medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake City. The public comment period closes Friday.

Daniel Mendoza / University of Utah Department of Atmospheric Sciences

For the first time, sources of carbon dioxide in Salt Lake County can be identified at the level of individual buildings and roadways. University of Utah researchers unveiled a new tool Monday that they say can be used to better track and combat air pollution.

Stephen Butler / Flickr Creative Commons

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is scanning hundreds of recently passed bills in search of any that might deserve a veto. One that’s caught his eye would prohibit a wintertime wood-burning ban.

House Bill 396 concerns the governor because it potentially restricts the policy-setting Air Quality Board from implementing the best pollution solutions it finds.

Courtesy: / Utah Department of Transportation

Utah lawmakers took a big step on air quality last week by passing a bill that creates incentives for refineries to make cleaner gasoline in Utah.

Utahns for Responsible Burning / Facebook Screen Capture

Clean-air activists want Governor Gary Herbert to veto a bill that bars regulators from banning wood burning all winter in Utah’s polluted areas. KUER’s Judy Fahys has the story.

The idea of a wood-burning ban was aimed at averting high-pollution episodes in northern Utah basins. But the Division of Air Quality’s proposal caused a backlash and prompted lawmakers to pass a bill that outlaws a ban.

Air Bills Advance

Mar 11, 2015
Wikipedia IC Bus CE-Series

Senators advanced important air-quality bills Tuesday. One provides clean school buses. The other permits Utah-tailored regulations.

The word “different” changed everything for a bill that gives more flexibility to state air regulators. Sen Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, explained that current law blocked regulators from stepping up pollution monitoring at a medical waste incinerator in his district.

Judy Fahys/KUER

The controversy over wood-burning and air pollution flared up again Tuesday before a legislative committee.

Rep. Brad Dee, R-Ogden, is sponsoring a bill to ease wood burning restrictions. It amounts to a rebuke of Gov. Gary Herbert’s proposal to ban wood-burning all winter in northern Utah’s pollution hotspots.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Legislation to clean up Utah’s air is progressing in the State Capitol as the second half of the 2015 General Session begins.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Doctors offered a public tutorial Thursday on the dangers pollution poses to pregnant women, and they gave suggestions on protecting mothers and their babies.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Thousands of Utahns gathered at the State Capitol Saturday to remind lawmakers they want more action on clean air.

Thiophene Guy / Flickr Creative Commons

State lawmakers rolled out nearly two dozen bills and funding requests Thursday that focus on air quality.

This session’s efforts come the year after the Legislature enacted more air-quality legislation than in the previous decade. And lawmakers want constituents to know they’re still paying attention.

Utah Transit Authority

The Salt Lake County health department is handing out thousands of free public transit passes to Salt Lake County residents. They hope the effort will get more people on buses and trains and out of personal vehicles that contribute to air pollution.

Brian Gimmett

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality has awarded $700,000 in grants and low-interest loans to expand electric and natural gas vehicle use across the state. / University of Utah Entertainment Arts and Engineering Department

Computer game students at the University of Utah have developed a tool to teach teens about the science and politics behind winter pollution.

Tim Slover


The Utah Clean Air Partnership has awarded a $25,000 grant to Salt Lake County to help repair vehicles with poor emissions.