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Conversation on Air Pollution Heats Up

inversion over salt lake valley.
Flickr Creative Commons
Winter inversions get a lot of northen Utahns complaining --- and engaged in finding solutions. Lawmakers, regulators, industry and the public are tackling the issue on many fronts.

  Air pollution used to be something Utahns just griped about. That’s changing, according to Kerry Kelly a University of Utah scientist and member of the state Air Quality Board.

“There’s also been a discussion about solutions,” she says. “We’ve started to see some action from the Legislature. This has instigated a lot of discussion among people.”

Everyone seems to be talking about air pollution in northern Utah this month, and the community agenda is full of opportunities to learn more.

Kelly’s helped organize the Science for Solutions workshop that begins on Tuesday.

It’s among a dozen opportunities Utahns have this month to get informed and involved. Primary Children’s Hospital focuses Thursday on pollution’s impact on children’s health. On the 27th  during the Sundance Film Festival, the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, the U and nonprofits have come together to host a forum at the Leonardo. State Representative Becky Edwards represents North Salt Lake. She says people aren’t just talking about pollution, they’re working together for cleaner air.

“It becomes less about an environmental activist issue and more about seeing us in a greater sense as a community and all sharing this issue.”

The Clean Air, No Excuses rally at the Capitol is set for the last Saturday of the month. Organizers hope for 10,000 participants, roughly double last year’s attendance.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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