air quality

Environment & Public Lands
2:27 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Study Shows Indoor Air Quality Better than Outdoors

Utah State University's webcam shows the Cache Valley covered by an inversion layer.
Utah State University/Utah Division of Air Quality

 When the air quality gets really bad in Utah’s valleys, residents are told to stay indoors.  But is our indoor air really any better?  A new study from Utah State University is helping to answer that question.

Environmental engineering professor Randy Martin says our indoor air is much cleaner than outdoors on cold inversion days.  He says a lot of the hazardous PM 2.5 particles tend to evaporate in the warmer indoor environment.  But he says we can also cause problems for ourselves inside.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:02 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Groups Appeal Holly-Frontier Refinery Expansion

The Holly-Frontier oil refinery in Woods Cross, Utah
Dan Bammes

  Activist groups are challenging the permit allowing the Holly-Frontier oil refinery in Woods Cross to expand its capacity.  

The Utah Division of Air Quality issued a permit last month allowing Holly-Frontier to more than double its refining capacity.  Work is already underway as the company prepares to install new equipment.

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Environment & Public Lands
2:53 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Survey Shows Utahns Willing to Pitch In for Clean Air

Envision Utah

  A new study by Envision Utah says 99-percent of Utahns are willing to do something personally to help improve air quality.  Envision CEO Robert Grow says respondents were willing to avoid idling, combine trips and even trade in older cars to make a contribution.  Grow says there’s enough civic commitment in Utah to have a real impact.

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Health Care
4:53 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Intermountain Doctors Say Bad Air Quality Associated with Spike in Patients

Air quality along the Wasatch front this week has reached levels above what the federal government deems safe, and doctors at Intermountain Medical Center say they are already hearing a lot of related health complaints from their patients.

Among those seeing a spike in patients is Denitza Blagev, pulmonary and critical care physician at Intermountain Medical Center. Common symptoms include chest tightness, chest burning, and shortness of breath.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:53 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

The Business Case for Clean Air

Utah Office of Tourism

  Bad air is bad for business – that’s the message from a roundtable discussion at the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.

Air quality on the Wasatch Front can be a problem for agencies trying to persuade businesses to come here.  That was among the the points discussed at Thursday’s meeting.  Mike O’Malley with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development says companies looking to relocate take air quality into consideration.

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Environment & Public Lands
12:28 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Air Quality Board Finalizing Pollution Plan

A winter inversion traps polluted air in the valleys of the Wasatch Front

  The state of Utah missed a deadline a year ago to submit a plan to the Environmental Protection Agency for meeting new standards for the smallest particles in the air – the so-called PM 2.5 pollutants.  This plan includes new rules on industrial polluters and on wood burning in urban counties.  It also depends heavily on improvements in auto emissions as cleaner cars replace those now on the road.

Kathy Van Dame, who’s a leader of the group Breathe Utah and a member of the Air Quality Board, likes this plan much better than the one they rejected a year ago.

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Environment & Public Lands
11:51 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Permit Issued for HollyFrontier Expansion

The HollyFrontier oil refinery in Woods Cross, Utah
Dan Bammes

  The HollyFrontier oil refinery in Woods Cross has been given a green light from the Utah Division of Air Quality to triple its refining capacity – even as it’s promised to reduce pollution.  

The expansion will mean hundreds of millions of dollars of new investment in the refinery as well as at least sixty new jobs.  But HollyFrontier spokesperson Mike Astin says there are still challenges to deal with from groups opposed to it.

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Environment & Public Lands
12:52 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Website Offers Personal Air Quality Advice

Winter air pollution blankets Salt Lake City
Tim Brown / Creative Commons

Should you still go out for that run on days when Utah’s air quality is questionable?  A new website may be able to answer that question, based on your own health and exercise needs. 

The developers of the MyAir website made a presentation to the Utah Air Quality Board this week, explaining their system for evaluating the individual risk of exposure to air pollution.  It’s based on the user’s health and fitness level as well as on the air quality on any given day.

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Environment & Public Lands
1:29 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Check Air Quality Levels in Your County with New Smartphone App from the Utah DAQ

Brian Grimmett

Utahns concerned about air quality can now get real-time updates right on their smartphone with a new app called “Utah Air.” The app is a joint project between the Utah Division of Air Quality and students at Weber State University.

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Public Safety
7:30 am
Thu October 31, 2013

What's Burning in the Backyard: North Salt Lake City's Options

Residents of North Salt Lake gather in the City Council chambers fora meet the candidate event.
Credit Brian Grimmett

 

North Salt Lake City residents will elect their leaders next week, and those running for office say that Stericycle’s medical waste incinerator has become a major issue in their campaigns. The company and the state Division of Air Quality are engaged in a legal battle over whether the incinerator exceeded permitted levels of pollutants in its emissions. Meanwhile, citizens are calling on city leaders to move the incinerator or shut it down. In the 2nd of our two part series we take a  look at North Salt Lake City’s options.

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Environment & Public Lands
7:40 am
Thu October 24, 2013

New Rules, New Website for Utah Air Quality This Winter

New graphics are part of the changes on the Utah Division of Air Quality website this winter
Utah Division of Air Quality

  Starting next week, the Utah Division of Air Quality will begin enforcing new rules on wood burning during winter inversions.  It's also changing its website, replacing the old red and yellow air quality alerts with a six-step system that's in use nationwide. Bryce Bird, the director of Utah's Division of Air Quality, sat down with KUER's Dan Bammes to talk about the changes.

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Environment & Public Lands
2:39 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Governor Announces Clean Air Team

Utah's governor says Wasatch Front air pollution has been improving.
Utah Governor's Office

Governor Gary Herbert has created a committee with dozens of high-profile people from around the state to look at solutions to Utah’s air quality problems, while critics were blasting a state plan meant to meet stricter federal pollution standards. 

Governor Gary Herbert says everything’s on the table as his new Clean Air Action Team begins its work.  It’s led by Dan Lofgren of Envision Utah and includes 39 members, ranging from the chairman of Intermountain Health Care to Dan McArthur, the mayor of St. George.

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Business & Labor
3:19 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Policy Change Allows Businesses to Sell EV Charging Services

Oregon Department of Transportation

The Public Service Commission of Utah is changing a rule that will make it easier for businesses to install charging stations for electric vehicles.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:11 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Groups Ask DAQ to Support Wood Burning Ban

Wikimedia Commons

Activist groups are planning to ask Utah’s state Air Quality Board to support a complete ban on wood burning for Utah's urban counties.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:12 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Clean Air Groups Challenge Kennecott Expansion

Kennecott's Bingham Canyon copper mine after a massive landslide in April, 2013
Kennecott Utah Copper

  A hearing is underway this afternoon in federal court on a challenge to Kennecott’s plan to expand the Bingham Canyon copper mine.  Representatives from Utah Moms for Clean Air, Wild Earth Guardians, the Sierra Club and Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment all say Kennecott can’t move ahead with its expansion without approval from the Environmental Protection Agency.  Doctor Brian Moench says that’s needed even though the Utah Division of Air Quality has already signed off on it.

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Environment & Public Lands
1:32 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

UDOT Considers Comments on West Davis Freeway

Demonstrators opposed to the West Davis Corridor freeway in May, 2013
Dan Bammes

  The public comment deadline has passed on Utah Department of Transportation’s proposal to build a freeway from Farmington to Hooper.  Critics of the West Davis Corridor say UDOT needs to back up and take another look.

Steve Erickson is with a group promoting another alternative, the so-called “Shared Solution.”  It would scrap the freeway and instead improve east-west routes across the county leading to FrontRunner and I-15.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:36 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

State Air Quality Plan Ready for Public Comment

Bill Reiss addresses the Utah Board of Air Quality
Dan Bammes

Utah’s State Air Quality Board has given its preliminary approval to a new plan for meeting federal air quality regulations on the Wasatch Front.

"Most of the residents of the valley are going to be breathing clean air sooner than 2019, so that’s a good thing," Bill Reiss, a planner with the Utah Division of Air Quality, explained to the Board of Air Quality.

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Environment & Public Lands
1:15 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Environmentalists ask North Salt Lake Officials to Exert Local Control

Environmental investigator Robert Bowcock stands outside North Salt Lake council chambers with residents and air quality advocates.
Andrea Smardon

Erin Brockovich and her team of environmental activists have made their presence known to North Salt Lake officials.  An investigator who works with Brockovich spoke to city councilors and the mayor Tuesday night, asking them to exert some local control and help protect citizens from the air pollution emitted by Stericycle’s medical waste incinerator.

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Environment & Public Lands
12:04 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

DAQ to Release Draft Air Plan September 11th

Winter inversion day
Erik Crossman - University of Utah

  The state of Utah missed a deadline last December for submitting a plan to federal authorities to reduce air pollution on the Wasatch Front.  But the public will get a look at a new draft plan in a couple of weeks.

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Environment & Public Lands
4:39 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Erin Brockovich Takes on Stericycle’s North Salt Lake Incinerator

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich is turning her attention to North Salt Lake City. At the request of residents, Brockovich and her team have decided to conduct an independent investigation into air pollution violations by Stericycle and the company’s medical waste incinerator. Angry residents and activists are protesting in front of Stericycle Thursday evening demanding that Governor Gary Herbert shut it down.

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Environment & Public Lands
4:58 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Energy Groups Call on Policymakers to Promote Electric Vehicles

Utah Clean Energy

Utah’s Public Service Commission is meeting at the Capitol this week to discuss options for improving air quality along the Wasatch Front through the use of alternative-energy vehicles.

Earlier this year, the state Legislature tasked the Public Service Commission to investigate how alternative-energy vehicles can improve air quality along the Wasatch Front. Kevin Emerson of Utah Clean Energy was at the first of this week’s hearings. He says electric vehicles are the best way to reduce emissions.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:40 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Frustrated Neighbors Step up Pressure on Stericycle's Medical Waste Incinerator

Stericycle's incinerator is visible from a playground in the Foxboro neighborhood of North Salt Lake.
Andrea Smardon

Activist groups and North Salt Lake residents are planning another protest of Stericycle, a medical waste incinerator accused of violating pollution limits and falsifying emissions tests.  The event on August 15th is being planned after state regulators gave the company a second extension to decide if it will challenge the allegations against them.

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Environment & Public Lands
10:04 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Chevron to Pay $384,000 for Clean Air Act Violations at Salt Lake City Refinery

arbyreed Creative Commons

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a settlement with Chevron. The company has agreed to pay a $384,000 penalty for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at its refinery in Salt Lake City.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:25 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Groups Sue DAQ Over Refinery Expansion

Tesoro Corporation

Environmental groups are suing the Utah Division of Air Quality hoping to stop an oil and gas refinery expansion the regulator approved in Salt Lake City.  The Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club and Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment say the expansion would move the state further out of compliance with federal air quality standards.

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Environment & Public Lands
5:35 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

State Officials Warn of Invisible Ozone Threat

A chart of pollution levels at Hogan Park in Woods Cross

Utah regulators are trying to educate people on the dangers of ozone, an invisible gas produced by smog that doctors say taxes the lungs of even healthy people.

The press conference took place under clear blue skies at a park in Woods Cross, with children playing nearby. It seemed like a nice day, but Director of the state’s Division of Air Quality Bryce Bird says ozone often goes overlooked because people can't see it.

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Environment & Public Lands
2:09 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Why Doesn't Utah's Ozone Pollution Just Blow Away?

Air Pollution Trends from the Utah Division of Air Quality website
Utah Division of Air Quality

  In the winter, air pollution can stay trapped in the valleys of the Wasatch Front until the wind picks up and blows it away.  In the summer, ozone pollution can be a problem day after day even when the wind is blowing.  

Unlike particulates, which can build up for weeks in a winter inversion, new ozone is created every day by a reaction between tailpipe emissions and sunlight. Erik Crosman, a researcher in the University of Utah’s Atmosopheric Sciences program, says the wind doesn’t make much difference to pollution levels on a hot summer day.

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Environment & Public Lands
5:03 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

UCAIR Becomes a Private Non-Profit

Shawni McAllister is the new Executive Director of the Utah Clean Air Partnership or UCAIR
Bob Nelson

State officials re-launched the Utah Clean Air Partnership or UCAIR today as a non-profit entity with a a new board of directors.  

Governor Gary Herbert gathered many new members of the UCAIR board in West Valley City on Tuesday to announce changes to the organization. Until now, UCAIR had been a state-run organization dedicated to improving the state’s air quality. Governor Herbert says reorganizing the day-to-day management of UCAIR was always a goal.

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-KUER News Pod
11:35 am
Fri May 3, 2013

KUER News Pod: Friday May 3, 2013

Governor Herbert declares May “Clean Air Month,” Utah hospitals rank high in stroke treatment, and Kennecott Utah Copper begins laying off workers.

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Environment & Public Lands
4:02 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Herbert Asks Public to Take Responsibility for Clean Air

Gov. Herbert gives three tips on how individual Utahns can help reduce air pollution
Brian Grimmett

Governor Gary Herbert demonstrated three simple things Utahns can do to help lower harmful emissions as he kicked off Clean Air Month at a house across the street from the State Capitol today.

Governor Herbert says Utahns aren’t always aware of the simple ways we can help clean up the air but gave these three tips while declaring May Clean Air Month. One could update older fuel storage containers, use paints with low amounts of volatile organic compounds, and replace gas powered yard equipment with cleaner alternatives.

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Environment & Public Lands
10:18 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Will Utah Weigh in on EPA’s New Cleaner Fuels and Cars Standards?

File: Gas Pump

The federal Environmental Protection Agency is now taking public comment on proposed new cleaner fuels and cars standards. Known as Tier 3 of the Clean Air Act Amendments, they’re designed to improve air quality and public health by reducing the sulfur content of gasoline and making cars more efficient. 

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