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Letter: Doing my part

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  • embarrassed Utahn! Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 5:19 a.m.

    Gary Herbert and Utah's "leaders" spent hundreds of thousands on those signs on the freeways telling us to "drive less and carpool for cleaner air"! Isn't that a great way to spend our tax dollars?

    Typical Utah leadership...Build Eight lanes of freeway and then tell people not to drive.

  • embarrassed Utahn! Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 5:22 a.m.

    And of course we wouldn't want to tread on anyone's rights....Why should someone driving a twelve passenger gas-guzzler have to pay their fair share??? I'm guessing many if not most Utah legislators drive gas guzzlers. There should absolutely be a tail-pipe tax in this state, but who would dare propose that.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 6:28 a.m.

    If you want legislators to represent you, you just have to give them the same level of "donations" as the corporations do.

  • Trapped in Utah heber city, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 6:57 a.m.

    Thank you for your efforts. If only the polluting corporations would be good neighbors.
    I've noticed that the "little guys" in this State are the ones always asked to make sacrifices (whether it be individuals or small companies) while the large corporations appear to have a blank check as to what they do. What good are their jobs if they are harming the people? There is so much more the large companies could do to reduce pollution. Unfortunately they don't appear to want to do it voluntarily. They appear to be here simply to plunder.

  • Sal Provo, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 8:08 a.m.

    Mayor Becker says companies won't come to Utah if we don't clean up our air. I say, good! Pollute more so people will not come. We don't have the water for more population.

    Fortunately, we suffer dirty air only a few weeks out of each year.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 20, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    We live in a bowl where air, including polluted air is trapped. Did the Governor "build" this bowl? Is he responsible for nature?

    Utah is part of a complex society. It's wonderful that some people can walk to work. It's wonderful that some people can walk to the grocery store. Most of us can't. My closest customer is twelve miles away. My next closest customer is 40 miles away. Neither are on a TRAX or FrontRunner line. When those customers call, I have to respond, which means that I can't form a carpool and I can't take multiple buses to get to them. That's life. In order to feed my family and to pay my bills, I have to drive a great many miles every year.

    If those who complain about pollution would thank God for the beauty of this valley and the beauty of the mountains around us, maybe they would focus on those things that are important instead of moaning and groaning about how wonderful it would be if they and they alone lived in this valley.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 8:22 a.m.

    Thank you for doing your part! There's no question that tail pipes are a major source of the problem, and we need to alter our behavior when a higher system begins to trap the air in our valleys. Everything to this point has been voluntary, but one way for us, the consumers to reduce emissions would be to lower the speed limits on our freeways during inversions.

    I see way too many people still driving at 80 on the freeways, out of sheer habit. If those signs above the freeway said "Due to Air Quality, Speed Limit now 60 mph" it would help curb behavior for the benefit of us all. Having UHP handing out tickets will drive the point home (so to speak).

    I'm seeing more & more people use the masks on their faces when they go outdoors, and as we start to see more photos of people doing this, and it starts to hit businesses, tourism, and puts a dent in our perceived high quality of life, THEN our leaders will have the courage to curb industrial pollution.

    Common citizens have limited influence, but other businesses have a voice that's heard.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 8:32 a.m.

    Jake,
    You hit on the only real long-range solution to the problem (less people living in downtown SLC).

    This valley has always had the geography it has, and the weather it has. What is new (and has coincided with the increasingly bad air on inversion days) is the increased population.

    A lot of people are going to need to do what you suggested (and move out of the area) if we are to actually solve this problem. SLC and the suburbs are growing too fast.

    ===

    Industry is part of the problem. But they aren't the whole problem. They can't solve the whole problem.

    Industry can and should make improvements (but the problem will remain).

    As long as the population in the valley continues to increase at the rates it has for the last 5 decades... the problem is going to continue to increase (even if we got rid of all industry).

    More people means more homes, more furnaces or fireplaces, more cars, more schools, more roads, more refineries (for their cars), more industry (for their jobs). You can't have the population growth we've had in a valley like this without air problems.

  • Curmudgeon Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 8:40 a.m.

    Mike, even people who have to drive for a living can do something about air pollution. I assume you drive an ultra low-emissions vehicle, like a Prius, right? You can "thank God for the beauty of this valley and the beauty of the mountains around us" from the driver's seat of a low-emissions vehicle perhaps better than from the driver's seat of a gas guzzler, because you will be showing God that you are a wise steward of His creation.

  • Sal Provo, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 8:48 a.m.

    You people on the Left make me chuckle. You move to Utah because it is family friendly, has a great economy, and enjoys a low crime rate. Then you get busy trashing the Conservative leaders and people that make it such a great state to live in. You have my blessing to leave at any time it becomes unbearable.

  • ingslc salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 8:53 a.m.

    Come to the Clean Air, No Excuses Rally at the Capitol January 25th at noon. This is the message more than a thousand citizens intend to share with our lawmakers. Your letter is spot on, thanks for writing.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    For all the good your request did you might as well suggest an increased minimum wage. We're going to come down on the side of big business every time.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 9:47 a.m.

    What's wrong with government regulation?

    What's wrong with stiffer penalties for industry which refuses to even meet basic EPA standards?

    What's wrong with special tax breaks and programs to encourage people to conserve and use green energy?

    Why must we always cater to big pollution? Oh yeah, because they contribute more to our legislature and AG than others. If the Swallow debacle has proven anything, it's that our local government is up for sale. The people are losing out while big industry and payday loan lenders are winning big.

    Rather than relocate the prison, why not relocate the refinery?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 20, 2014 10:14 a.m.

    Curmudgeon,

    Surely you know that coal is used in Utah to generate the electricity that powers a Prius. But your idea is good. Why not tell it to UPS, to FedEX and to the trucking companies. Sure, why not use 200 people each pushing a wheelbarrow to carry the cement that one truck can carry?

    Not everything fits in a Prius. I use a truck most of the time because the truck is the most efficient way for me to carry everything that I need to service my customers. Making four or five trips in a Prius to do the same job as carrying everything in a truck and making one trip would be counterproductive.

    Simplistic solutions are just that - simplistic. It's easy to sit at a computer and complain, but complaining never solved any problems.

    Why not advocate nuclear power plants? Why not have electricity so cheap and so plentiful that we could use all-electric homes? Why not make it so cheap that industry could use that electricity for all processes that now require fossil fuel?

    Why not ride horses or bicycles?

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 10:15 a.m.

    @Mike Richards. So your solution is to do nothing. I would expect nothing less from the republicans in this state.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 10:25 a.m.

    In the summer time forest fires and in the winter we have to keep worm every one has a fire in their heater. Summer time dust is blown every where in the winter smoke is stuck in the boll. All you can do is your best. I heard yams are good for your lungs.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 10:27 a.m.

    Real Maverick,
    The main problem with government regulation is... when you expect the government to solve the problem for you, by forcing somebody else to do it your way... it rarely works.

    We need to do things for the right motivations. Not because the government is forcing us to live the way a more radical environmentalist would like us to live.

    We need to drive less and conserve more because it helps our own life and the environment... not because the Government has its boot on our throat and insists you do it the way the more radical elements in our community would like you to do it.

    It's the same dilemma you always have when you decide the only solution is to use government regulation to force people to do it your way...

    Like seatbelts etc (you won't do it just to save your life... there has to be a law first, and then you might do it to avoid the ticket). Same with helmet laws, pollution regulations, etc.

    When government force is the only motivation... it doesn't really work. You only buckle up when you see a cop.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 10:46 a.m.

    RE: "@Mike Richards. So your solution is to do nothing"...

    I don't think Mike Richards said, "do nothing". In fact he gave a list of things we could do. So I don't see how you twist that into him saying, "do nothing".

    "Opinion" isn't putting words people didn't say into their mouth and pretended they actually said it (a strawman).. Reread him and you'll see he didn't actually say, "do nothing".

    ===

    Just because what somebody suggests isn't as radical as you would like... doesn't mean they said "Do Nothing".

    To find common-ground... we must overcome the assumption that if somebody's not quite as radical as you are... they want to do nothing. It's not an all-or-nothing thing. It's a spectrum. He's just at a different point on the spectrum than you are.

    I think as long as people are coming up with ideas (even if they aren't as radical as we would like)... we don't pretend they said, "do nothing".

    Nobody thinks we should "do nothing". We all know we need to do something. We may just disagree on how radical to get.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 10:48 a.m.

    It is interesting to note, The CO2 emissions have decreased in the US by 20% over the last so many years. Not because of a carbon tax, yet we still hear a call for a carbon tax to decrease CO2 emissions. Punitive taxes do not equate to better out comes.

  • SLars Provo, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 11:01 a.m.

    With the closing of Geneva steel, Utah valleys air is much better that it was in the mid 70's. And that's with thousands of acres of green chopped down for homes and parking lots.

    The only real solution is to modify the basin that Northern Utah sits in, or realize that the population here has to be controlled,and dirty business is not attractive anymore.

  • micawber Centerville, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 11:12 a.m.

    @Mike Richards:
    Surely you know that a Prius is a hybrid vehicle not an electric vehicle.

    Perhaps you could consider a natural gas vehicle.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 11:13 a.m.

    @Mike Richards
    The bowl is responsible for inversions sticking in place. Nature is responsible for the inversion. The contents of the air in the inversion are heavily influenced by humans.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Jan. 20, 2014 11:20 a.m.

    When I talk about pollution with my conservative neighbors, they get a defensive look on their faces and advise me to move away. Irony of the Day: My moving might solve the problem--both for me and for them.

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 11:22 a.m.

    @2 bits -- What you are proposing is for people to voluntarily produce less pollution. Yes, some people will, but not enough to make a difference. That's why we, collectively, can agree that we don't want to live somewhere where we can barely breathe for months at a time and we say, jointly, this isn't acceptable. The way we, as a people, jointly decide something like that is through our government. Would you ever say this: Hey, it's a bad idea to rob and/or kill people, but you all make your own decision. Of course not, but you're willing to gamble with the health of people whose health is affected by pollutants.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 12:23 p.m.

    @2bits. Read Mike Richards first post. He said stop complaining. His second post was not posted when I made a comment about his original post.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 12:39 p.m.

    Wonder,
    When we collectively agree "let's use the government to make em do it our way"... I'm Leary.

    We're all adults and can make our own decisions. We may not all make the same decisions, but that doesn't mean we use government to force everybody to make the decisions you think are right. That's like the religious-right deciding if enough of them say "do it this way"... the government should FORCE people to do it that way. It's not right. Even if a lot of people collectively agree that's the RIGHT way.

    We all have our own approach. We all have a level of environmentalism we are comfortable with. I just don't appreciate the people who think if you aren't as radical as they are... you're wrong (even if what you are trying, but just don't go as far as they would like).

    Same with religion. We may have a lot of people who collectively agree how it should be done... do you want them using the government to force you to do it that way?

    I assume not.

    My last comment (for what it's worth).

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 20, 2014 12:58 p.m.

    Liberals dictate to us what we should do to make their life easier and more enjoyable. They are so fixated on themselves that they can't see that those who have big families require big vehicles and that big vehicles use more gas than small vehicles. Some people deny that a Prius, when running off its gasoline "side", is polluting just like any other gas powered vehicle and that when it runs off its electric "side", it is using coal generated electricity which pollutes whether that electricity is used in a Prius or in a lightbulb.

    Those who moved here since the 1950s are part of the real problem - too many people in a bowl. They didn't live here before natural gas became the common fuel to heat our homes. They don't remember what it was like when everyone used coal or wood. But, now that they've moved into the area, they want us all to drop everything and sit quietly in a corner while they yell at us for living.

    We live in a bowl with over 2,000,000 neighbors. Get used to it.

  • Curmudgeon Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 1:43 p.m.

    Mike:

    You should educate yourself about super ultra low emissions vehicles (SULEVs) before you pontificate too much. Vehicles in that class (which includes not only the Prius, but models from Honda, Ford, BMW, Subaru, Chevy, and Hyundai), achieve that status because they produce 90% fewer emissions than comparable gasoline powered vehicles. So a Prius, even when running off its gasoline engine, is NOT polluting "like any other gas powered vehicle."

    Granted that some families need larger cars (the Prius carries 5 adults comfortably), but that doesn't give them a pass to ignore their impact on the pollution problem. There are larger vehicles that also achieve lower than average emissions. Is your big truck a low-emissions vehicle? Does it run on natural gas? It is not only liberals who ought to pay attention. After all, pollution affects both liberals and conservatives.

    And what's with the elitist dissing of people who moved to Utah since the 50's? I'm guessing that most of your conservative heroes fall into that group. And what about the old-timers like you who fill up the bowl with many children; they add to overpopulation just like the newbies.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 2:08 p.m.

    What difference should it make to anyone what kind of vehicle I drive or that my neighbor drives unless they are willing to hire me so that I can afford the vehicle that they think that I should drive. Too many people want to force me to do what they think is best for me. Well, thank you very much, but your desire to force me to be your twin is not part of my reason for being alive.

    Those those want to shape society after themselves might be better served if they looked in a mirror and asked themselves when they last created dirt. If they can't even create dirt, just how to they propose that they have the answer to sustain life in their "perfect environment"?

    Does Obama ride around in a Prius? Why not? Shouldn't those who yell at us because we don't drive in the car of THEIR choice also yell at the President? Does Obama flit and fly in an ultra-light plane? Why not? Is he too "good" to conserve millions of gallons of fuel?

    Before yelling, spend some time looking in the mirror.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 2:23 p.m.

    So a Prius, even when running off its gasoline engine, is NOT polluting "like any other gas powered vehicle. Yes it is, just a smaller amount. That does not equate to no pollution.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 2:50 p.m.

    Re: Mike Richards "If those who complain about pollution would thank God for the beauty of this valley and the beauty of the mountains around us, maybe they would focus on those things that are important instead of moaning and groaning about how wonderful it would be if they and they alone lived in this valley."

    Problem is, there are real health risks to the current pollution levels. It's not just aesthetics.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 2:54 p.m.

    Wouldn't it be nice to have the mythical "perpetual motion machine" parked in the driveway? Those who think that the Prius does not pollute have been suckeredinto believing the impossible. Energy is required to move mass. That energy requires fuel. If the fuel is in a battery pack, then something was burned to created that energy. Whether it was burned in the car or in an "electrical generation plant" does not matter. Fuel was burned to create that energy. When fuel is burned, there is pollution. No matter how gullible you might be in thinking that a Prius does not pollute, you would have to take your argument to Einstein, who would be all too happy to help you understand that even the advertising section of Prius cannot change the laws of physics. Things at rest remain at rest until moved on. Movement requires fuel. Consuming fuel creates pollution. A Prius creates pollution just like a Peterbilt truck creates pollution. Depending on the amount of mass being moved, the pollution is larger or smaller. Those who believe otherwise are always free to explain how they change lead into gold.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 3:07 p.m.

    Mandatory electric cars.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Jan. 20, 2014 3:34 p.m.

    @J. Thompson, Actually, the technology now exists to turn lead into gold-- it's done in a nano matrix that transforms the electrical charges of subatomic particles (google it if you'd like). The technology also exists to remove most of the pollution from our air, but our reactionary legislature and governor refuse to act on it.

  • Grover Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 4:37 p.m.

    So exactly what part of "dirtiest air in the USA" don't people understand? What difference does it make whether people moved here or were born here? What difference does it make when we see that some Chinese cities have pollution 4 or 5 times as bad as ours other than as Ralph Becker put it: "look out the window and see our future". Is that what we want as a city? To make a difference, it will take all parts of the problem to contribute to the solution. One way to help might be for everyone to buy masks to wear when we go downtown or to the Capitol to protest. Getting pictures in the press of the masked populace of SLC will do much to stem the inflow of new migrants. Simply saying that "it's not our fault" does nothing.

    PS. The winter problem is PM2. The summer problem is ozone. Both cause respiratory problems, but only the PM2 are so visible. Too bad the legislature meets in the winter, otherwise there would never be pressure for change.

    PPS. You can get a GMC Suburban in a hybrid.

  • Sal Provo, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 6:36 p.m.

    @curmudgeon: It takes a lot of energy to produce a Prius. There is a great deal of pollution involved in producing hybrids and wind farms.

  • JenicaJessen Riverton, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 7:34 p.m.

    We live in a bowl that traps cold air and particulate emissions, and no amount of arguing is going to change that. Our geography is not the government's fault, corporations' fault, or public's fault-- but all of us have to live with the consequences.

    Demonizing 'liberals', 'conservatives', 'industry', 'gas guzzlers', or anyone else is not going to solve the problem. Bickering endlessly over whether drivers or companies should have to sacrifice is not going to solve the problem. The answer is yes to both. Everyone contributes to the problem, which is made worse by circumstances outside of anyone's control-- and if we want cleaner air, everyone, from big industry to small families, is going to have to contribute. Making this into a partisan, 'business vs. the people' issue is not helpful.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 11:27 p.m.

    Endless bickering about salvation coming to Utah in a Prius is nonsense. Even if every family on the Wasatch Front drove nothing but a Prius, do you really think that the air would be pristine and pure? Are you going to shut off your lights, your heat? Are you going to shut down the schools and factories? Are you going to shut down the stores? When will you finally admit that living in a bowl that collects dead air will always produce pollutants unless every living being leaves. Even if there is only one camp fire in the entire Salt Lake Valley, that single campfire will produce pollutants that will remain until the air is blown out of the valley, which will just carry those pollutants somewhere else. No amount of Priuses or lack thereof will cure the problem. No amount of shutting down industry will cure that problem.

    If you want clean air, you must realize that you will never have clean air when you live in a bowl. Thinking otherwise is childish foolishness. Do a 5th Grade science experiment and prove it to yourself.

  • Makid Kearns, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 6:36 a.m.

    The #1 problem and general cause of pollution is the current build environment.

    For instance, Someone works in Downtown SLC yet lives in Herriman. They can take transit to work all they want, yet they can't walk to the grocery store. Most won't walk to church let alone school. It is the shorter trips that cause most of the problem.

    So, some will say that we should allow more jobs near where people live. That is a good thought, but what if where you work doesn't move near where you live? Will you move to near where you work? Why aren't you now?

    60 years ago, 1/2 of the Salt Lake Valley was farmland and the majority of people lived near where they worked. Slowly over the last 60 years, residential developers and smaller towns have conspired together to bring the people to them. Roads have had to be built, water use per-capita has increased and commute times have increased, all for the sake of 1/4 acre of highly taxed land to pay for the resources needed to support the suburban lifestyle and those taxes still fall short of the actual costs.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Jan. 21, 2014 7:06 a.m.

    Typical conservative Utah response ---

    If you don't like it, leave.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Jan. 21, 2014 7:10 a.m.

    KSL ran a great report last night about Mexico City.

    30 years ago,
    Mexico USED to have the most polluted air in the World.

    That has now all changed.

    Mexico City is in a backwards 3rd world country,
    and has 20 times the population of Salt Lake,

    Salt Lake City is worst than Mexico.

    Pathetic.
    Especially knowing we can do better, but don't.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Jan. 21, 2014 8:34 a.m.

    I just got to reading this today and am dumbfounded. Not surprised just dumbfounded.

    Who in their right mind supports pollution.

    Even Mike Richards admitted that it use to be worse in the valley when everyone burned coal. But then just moves on to defend the current pollution, that is in fact dangerous. And I'm sorry 2bits but his suggestions were at best just a rant (there is no lack of electricity, and if you make the electricity with coal you're right where you started), and more likely just sarcasm.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Jan. 21, 2014 9:33 a.m.

    The population has doubled since the 1950's.
    A good thing we had a Government back then to crack down to improve our air policies.

    BTW --
    The population is expected to double again...

    Playing ostrich,
    denying their is a problem,
    or choosing NOT to do anything more about it,
    is a stupid fool's game.

  • Iron Rod Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 28, 2014 1:44 a.m.

    Re Mike Richards

    What good are beautiful mountains if you cann't see them?