air quality

Governor Gary Herbert weighs in on a potential statewide anti-discrimination bill, the Utah Senate gives preliminary approval to a bill that would require the state to collect abortion statistics, and oil and gas drilling are the cause of most of the air pollution in the Uintah basin.

Study Looks at Uintah Basin Ozone

Feb 19, 2013
Dan Bammes

  After a year of studying winter ozone air pollution in Utah’s Uintah Basin, a team of scientists has determined that oil and gas wells are causing most of the problem.  

The team at Utah State University’s Uintah Basin campus studied ozone last winter – when there were only a few inversion days and not much of a problem.  It’s been worse this year, and Seth Lyman with the Bingham Research Center says a big part of the problem is the volatile organic compounds such as benzene coming from thousands of oil and gas wells.

Local government leaders call on the state legislature to act on cleaning up the air, nearly a dozen nonprofits working to end violence against women put on a dance show at the State Capitol, and a group of same-sex couples in Salt Lake use Valentine’s day to bring attention to marriage equality.

Brian Grimmett

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker joined Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell at the State capitol today in announcing their ideas on how government on both the local and state level can help improve air quality.

A new report says that Utah would benefit from Medicaid expansion, protests continue over Utah’s poor air quality, and Dixie State College is on it’s way to becoming a University.

Utahns are well-acquainted with the dirty air lurking beyond their front doors in a winter inversion or summer ozone day.  A long string of unhealthy air days this winter has many residents saying "enough". Today KUER News and RadioWest begin “Clearing the Air,” a special series aimed at exploring the problem of Utah’s poor air quality and ways to improve it.  One of the contributing factors is car emissions, but is public transit a viable option for those living on the Wasatch Front? Can people use their cars less without compromising their lifestyle? 

Brian Grimmett

 A group of Democratic legislators are introducing six new bills in an effort to help tackle Utah’s poor air quality.

The content of the proposed bills ranges from offering free passes for UTA Buses and TRAX trains to allowing the state to put in place stricter restrictions than the Environmental Protection Agency already requires. Representative Joel Briscoe is sponsoring the bill that would fund giving away free UTA passes. He says even with a tight budget this is something that should be attainable.

Utahns crowd into Governor Herbert’s Capitol office demanding clean air, the LDS church weighs in on boy Scouts and gays, and local political and environmental leaders give their take on President Obama’s new Secretary of the Interior appointment.

Andrea Smardon

Utah citizens and activists gathered on the steps of the Capitol Wednesday to demand action to clean up the state’s polluted air.  The rally was part of a grassroots effort, including a Facebook campaign and petition.

University of Utah student Carl Ingwell started the Facebook campaign, urging people to inundate the Utah governor’s office with calls and e-mails, demanding action. His campaign led him to the steps of the Capitol, speaking to about 150 concerned citizens.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert promotes Prosperity 2020 goals in Washington, D.C., Utah Democrats call for the protection of Utah’s greater canyonlands, and the Division of Air Quality is targeting the use of toxic consumer cleaning products.

Most strategies to reduce air pollution in northern Utah focus on emissions from cars and industry, but the state’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) is targeting another source of pollution – the products in our bathroom cupboards, cleaning closets, and garage shelves.  The DAQ board will consider a new rule Wednesday that would regulate consumer products containing volatile organic compounds. 

The Utah State Legislature begins today with many new faces, clean air advocates files a lawsuit against the EPA, and Congressmen Jim Matheson introduces legislation to limit kids’ access to violent video games.

Andrea Smardon

Clean air advocates filed a legal challenge last week against the US Environmental Protection Agency, claiming a new policy allows some coal-fired power plants to continue releasing haze-causing pollutants in Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming.  Environmental organization HEAL Utah was one of the groups who filed the challenge with the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver. 

Governor Gary Herbert addresses air quality, guns, and the allegations brought against Utah Attorney General John Swallow in his monthly news conference, Utahns say they are willing to pay more taxes for better education, and the Reverend Jesse Jackson speaks at the University of Utah.

A spokeswoman for Utah Governor Gary Herbert says the governor disagrees with dozens of Utah Doctors who say the region’s current air pollution levels are causing a public healthcare emergency.  A group of physicians hand-delivered a letter to the Governor’s office Wednesday afternoon, asking him to take prompt action to address poor air quality along the Wasatch Front and in Cache Valley.

The Utah Republican Party makes its first statement on the allegations surrounding Attorney General John Swallow, the Outdoor Retailers show will be staying in Salt Lake for at least two more years, and a group of Utah physicians says the bad air quality is a health emergency.

2013 is the year of the bike for Salt Lake City. That's one commitment Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker outlined in his annual state of the city address last night. 

The Utah Sheriff’s Association says they will not enforce federal gun laws they see as unconstitutional, air quality warnings are absent from UDOT signs, and people across the Salt Lake Valley spend their day serving others to honor Martin Luther King.

UDOT Signs Silent on Air Quality

Jan 21, 2013
Utah Department of Transportation

Two events that attract tens of thousands of visitors to Utah are taking place this week: The Sundance Film Festival and the winter Outdoor Retailers show. Some activist groups are wondering if there's an effort to avoid drawing attention to the state's lousy air quality while they're in town.

Refinery Promises Cleaner Air

Jan 4, 2013
Utah Division of Air Quality

The Holly oil refinery in Woods Cross is promising to reduce its air pollution significantly at the same time it's expanding to handle twice as much crude oil from eastern Utah.

Salt Lake County delays their vote on a proposed tax increase, a Utah family sues the Millard County sheriff over the shooting death of their son, and the Utah Air Quality Board scraps their plan to meet federal standards.

KUER News Pod: Thursday December 6, 2012

Dec 6, 2012

The Utah Air Quality Board approves a controversial emissions testing program, the Provo Airport welcomes a new tenant, and a state legislator proposes a new motorcycle helmet law.

KUER News Pod: Tuesday December 4, 2012

Dec 4, 2012

The Utah Air Quality Board looks at creating stricter regulations, Governor Gary Herbert says Utah is “ready and willing” to host another Olympic games, and teen unemployment rates continue to remain high.

Utah Facing Tough New Air Quality Regulations

Dec 4, 2012
Dan Bammes

The Utah Air Quality Board will meet tomorrow to look at a new set of state regulations aimed at cleaning up winter air pollution.  The new rules would impose stricter standards in Cache County as well as the Wasatch Front.  The new plan has to meet standards set by the U-S Environmental Protection Agency, with federal highway funding at risk if it fails.

Salt Lake Chamber Makes Business Case for Clean Air

Nov 29, 2012

Utah business leaders are making a case for why clean air is integral to a strong economy. At the Salt Lake Chamber’s 2nd Annual Clean Air Conference this morning panelists from the Utah division of Air Quality, Wasatch Front Regional Council and Overstock.com discussed how environmental responsibility can benefit bottom lines and improve quality of life for everyone. 

Bob Nelson

Utah’s new air pollution alert system has some health advocacy groups concerned.  Under the new system announced Monday by the Utah Division of Air Quality, there will be fewer days that will trigger a Red Air Action alert.  Red Air days are considered to be unhealthy for everyone.  In the current system, they are triggered when PM2.5 levels are at 35 micrograms per cubic meter.  The new system raises the threshold to 55. 

KUER News Pod: Tuesday November 27, 2012

Nov 27, 2012

The University of Utah announces changes to their admission policy, the Utah Division of Air Quality cracks down on wood burning stoves, and the state officially certifies all election results.

Utah Priorities Project: Environment

Oct 4, 2012
winter air inversion
Erik Crossman - University of Utah

Concern about the environment moved up a notch this year in the Utah Foundation’s survey of issues important to voters.  And while there are many aspects of that issue to look at, voters insist air pollution is at the top of their environmental agenda

Governor Gary Herbert will meet with Cache County officials Wednesday in Logan to talk about air quality.  County officials requested the meeting with the Governor to express their concerns about state plans to expand vehicle emissions testing. 

Cache County Executive Lynn Lemon says the majority of the people in his region do not want emissions testing on vehicles.  That’s why the County Council voted against it.  Lemon says the state should not impose this policy against the will of the county.

Smoke Pushes Air Pollution Levels

Sep 18, 2012
Utah Dept. of Health

Smoke from distant wildfires has pushed air pollution levels well above federal health standards in Utah this week.  Fine particulate pollution (PM 2.5) topped 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air on Tuesday afternoon.  Schools aren't required to keep kids indoors during recess until that level reaches 90.  But Doctor Michell Hofmann, a pediatrician at the University of Utah School of Medicine says school administrators and coaches need to think about how many days kids have been breathing bad air as well as just how bad it might be on a given day.

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