Air Quality | KUER 90.1

Air Quality

Heat map
Logan Mitchell / University of Utah

Utah’s Economic Development and Workforce Services Interim Committee met Monday to discuss improvements to the Wasatch Front’s air quality during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Photo of burning pinyon and juniper beside Toquerville sign.
David Fuchs / KUER

Tuesday morning, May 19, 2020

Photo of air pollution
Brian Albers / KUER

Wednesday morning, May 13, 2020

Traffic on Utah highway. / wsfurlan

Tuesday morning, April 21, 2020

A pump jack at dusk surrounded by sagebrush
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

Wednesday evening, Mar. 4, 2020

Photo of Utah Olympic Park.
Brian Grimmett / KUER

Thursday morning, Feb. 27, 2020

Stock image of a wood-burning fireplace

Wednesday evening, Feb. 5, 2020

A photo of smog over downtown Salt Lake City.
Brian Albers / KUER

Wednesday evening, Jan. 29, 2020

Photo of air pollution over Salt Lake City.
Brian Albers / KUER

As Utah confronts the accelerating risks of climate change, the state now has a plan for action. 

Lights through fog and smog.
Elaine Clark / KUER

For short term pollution — like in the winter inversion season — the west coast dominates the American Lung Association’s list of the top 25 most polluted cities. In the Mountain West, Missoula, Montana is the worst. It ranks 5th in the country, with the Wasatch Front not too far behind at number 8. Logan, 11, and Pocatello, 25, make the list too. 

Photo of smog over Salt Lake City.
Brian Albers / KUER

Wednesday evening, December 4, 2019

Photo of air pollution over the Great Salt Lake.
Brian Albers / KUER

Levels of the fine particulates found in northern Utah’s winter inversions have decreased over three years, putting the area in line with federal air quality standards for the first time in over a decade.

Stock photo of a tailpipe.

For the past 12 years, officials in Utah have dubbed September the start of idle free season, an annual reminder for residents to turn off their cars. On Monday, the tradition continued as Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, along with other state and local leaders and the non-profit Utah Clean Cities, made this year’s announcement at a press conference at the Capitol. 

Photo of smog over valley.
Brian Albers / KUER

A group of Utahns is now gathering signatures to get a carbon tax on the 2020 ballot. They say the money could be used for clean air initiatives and other projects.

Photo of power plant.
Nicole Nixon / KUER

Salt Lake City mayoral candidate David Garbett says if elected, he will try to move an oil refinery and a power plant out of the Salt Lake Valley.

Photo of air pollution over the Great Salt Lake.
Brian Albers / KUER

While air quality has been on the decline nationwide over the last two years, Utah has seen mixed results in the state’s efforts to rein in pollution.

Photo of bad air over valley.
Brian Albers / KUER

The American Lung Association gives nine Utah counties failing grades for pollution in its 2019 “State of the Air” even though air quality is improving over time, according to its 20th annual report released Wednesday.

Photo of air in Salt Lake valley.
Brian Albers / KUER

A campaign calling itself “Clean the Darn Air” is proposing a ballot initiative in 2020 that would impose a state carbon tax, if approved by Utah voters.

Photo of haze over the Uintah Basin
KUER File Photo

The same snow that’s helped wash away smog episodes along the Wasatch Front this winter has created a kind of pollution factory in the Uinta Basin. Conditions have led to more than two weeks of high-ozone days in Utah’s oil and gas country.

photo of Todd Weiler.
Cory Dinter for KUER

Utah lawmakers often claim they have done more in recent years to address the state’s poor air quality than ever before. But with a mandate from Gov. Gary Herbert to spend $100 million on air quality this year, legislators say they may fall short, especially with new state revenue numbers showing lower returns than expected.

Photo of smog.
Judy Fahys / KUER

In one small sign that the state’s air-quality cleanup plan is working, the Cache Valley has attained national clean-air standards for winter smog for three years in a row.

Photo of truck in Utah. / bluebeat76

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unveiled plans Tuesday to develop next-generation regulations to reduce a key pollutant from heavy-duty diesel trucks, but officials offered no details on what those changes will entail.

Photo of smog over SLC. / Bric Anderson

A Utah toxicologist has been appointed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee.

photo of truck in lab.
Judy Fahys / KUER

The Trump administration is scaling back many Obama-era environmental regulations, but the list does not include clean car-clean fuel standards that are considered crucial for improving Utah’s air quality.

Point of the mountain map.
Screenshot: Geneva Rock

A construction-products company is dusting off a request to expand its gravel-mining operation at the Point of the Mountain, raising concerns that the expansion could add more air pollution at a popular recreation spot and fast-growing communities nearby.

A new study shows air pollution like soot, dust and smoke is down around the country with one exception: wildfire prone areas like the Mountain West.  

inversion over salt lake valley.

A new air-quality law has just gone into effect that may go unnoticed by many Utahns. Since the beginning of July, all water heaters sold or installed in the state have to be low-emissions models.

slightl smog over rolling desert landscape.
EPA AirNow

Pristine lakes, unspoiled land and fresh air: that's the picture that comes to mind when talking about America's national parks. But air pollution in the nation's crown jewels actually rivals levels found in big cities. And that's driving people away from those protected lands, according to a new study.

File photo / KUER

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Scott Pruitt may have resigned but the controversies continue. A recently disclosed collection of emails between the EPA, an oil and gas lobbyist and at least one elected official in Utah are causing concern.