air quality | KUER 90.1

air quality

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.
iStock

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 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 smog over SLC.
iStock.com / 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.
KUER News

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.

Garrett via Wikimedia Commons

People know they can help clear the Salt Lake Valley’s air by hopping onto TRAX trains.

What they might not know is how an air-quality monitor mounted on the roof of a train car is also helping solve the valley’s pollution puzzle.

Mariordo Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz/WikiMediaCommons

State environmental officials on Tuesday announced how they plan to spend Utah’s share of a $15.7 billion national settlement from the Volkswagen emissions-tampering scandal.

 

Judy Fahys/KUER News

A new report from the American Thoracic Society shows how tightening federal air-pollution standards would pay off in better health and longer lives.

The Environmental Protection Agency just announced its plan to roll back vehicle emissions standards. That could be cause for concern in Mountain West communities with poor air quality.

Judy Fahys/KUER News

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said he’s putting new limits on which scientific studies can be factored into the nation’s environmental laws and policies. He told the conservative web site, The Daily Caller, last week that he wants more “transparency” in scientific research.

KUER

This week lawmakers paused to honor the 17 lives lost in a school shooting in Parkland, Fla. But the latest school violence is unlikely to persuade Republican leaders to propose any big changes to gun laws this session. Meanwhile, a committee finally approved something close to a resolution acknowledging climate change without actually using the phrase "climate change." We also talk about some air quality bills and medical marijuana. Rep. Steve Eliason joins us on 'Better Know A Lawmaker' and explains how he's tackling Utah's youth suicide problem. 

Nicole Nixon / KUER

Utahns took advantage of free transit last month when Salt Lake officials foot the bill to help combat air pollution.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

Tuesday was the first red air day of the winter season in the Salt Lake Valley. Members of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce used it to promote an initiative to get companies to reward their employees for driving less.

Judy Fahys / KUER News


We roll up in a tour bus to the white bones of what used to be a zinc plant in Donora, Pa. We pass the vacant lot where the steel mill was. Both industrial plants shut down decades ago, so it’s hard now to imagine this dull place as the epicenter of a world-famous tragedy.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Wasatch Front businesses want environmental regulators to clean up the air. Dozens of companies are pressing for strong, ambitious solutions for winter smog.

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Clean-air advocates called on Utah Governor Gary Herbert Monday to veto two bills they say would negatively impact air quality in the state.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Students from the Madeleine Choir School marched through the snowy, chilly morning Thursday.

They chanted “What do you want? Clean air. When do you want it? Right now” on their way to the Capitol steps. That’s where hundreds gathered to rally anyone who’d listen.

Julia Ritchey, KUER

Governor Gary Herbert delivered his State of the State address to the Utah Legislature Wednesday night, promising to keep up the state’s progress in economic growth and education.

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