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Our Dirty Air



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In the spirit of the recent commemoration of Earth Day, KSL reflects on a news conference held earlier this month by a group of physicians who claim dirty air along the Wasatch Front is causing long-term health risks to area residents.

Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment performed a public service by calling attention to Utah's "air pollution crisis." Think back to January when the area experienced 18 consecutive days of poor air quality. The physicians said such sustained pollution makes people sick and causes as many as a thousand deaths a year.

Their notable warning also came with a list of remedies.

Certainly, as they suggest, it seems practical to encourage expanded use of mass transit and to trim highway speeds at key times so vehicles emit fewer pollutants. Other recommendations, though, such as a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants, along with mandatory state-of-the-art controls on existing plants are problematic.

Still, the physicians got Utahns thinking more seriously about the need to find realistic and practical ways to clean up the air we breathe. KSL encourages them to continue to press the issue, and we urge policy-makers to listen intently to what they have to say. Now is the time to take steps to prevent a crisis from becoming an air-pollution catastrophe.

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