Dirty air addressed at Davis County meeting

May 27 2011 - 9:37pm

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CLEARFIELD -- The impact on the heart and lungs of inhaling dirty air was one of the concerns raised Thursday at a special meeting of representatives from the Davis County Health Board, Davis County Commission and State Department of Air Quality.

Because the Salt Lake Valley is bowl-shaped and traps haze, that should be a consideration in having to meet even tougher federal emissions standards, Davis officials said.

"We want to do what is right," said Davis County Commissioner Louenda Downs.

But county leaders, she said, want to do what is realistic. The air quality may have not met today's federal standards even back when Brigham Young first arrived in the valley, she quipped.

The one-hour informational meeting is the fourth sponsored stop state DEQ representatives have made along the Wasatch Front to gain communitywide support for tighter clean air standards.

The state is to make available by December 2012 a plan to the Environmental Protection Agency that uses "reasonable controls" to reduce the microscopic pollutant particulates in the air that can be inhaled into the lungs, also impacting the heart, said Bryce Bird, director of the State Division of Air Quality.

The division, at a meeting scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, will provide a history on the state's particulate matter, discuss how the division will coordinate with the EPA, discuss the emissions inventory to show the origination of the microscopic particulate matter, look at modeling in order to develop tighter emission strategies, and share how the public can be involved in the process, said Stacee Adams, State Department of Environmental Quality environmental planning consultant.

The public meeting will be at the DEQ offices in Salt Lake City, 195 N. 1950 West.

If the state does not show a viable plan for moving toward attainment, Bird said, it could result in EPA sanctions, including the potential loss of federal highway funds for the state.

"That is quite a large hammer," Bird said.

In April, the Weber-Morgan Health Department Board was presented with the same information by state DEQ representatives. The same information has also been shared with Box Elder and Cache county officials.

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