Interview Transcripts

Alan Matheson

Governor's Environmental Adviser

"Well, there's nothing more fundamental to all of us than the air we breathe. It impacts everything we do day-to-day. It's important for our health and the health of those that we love. It's important for our economy. There are costs associated with poor air quality, healthcare costs, deterring business from moving into the area. It's important for our tourism. And it's important for our quality of life. We live in a beautiful place. We want to make sure that we can see the beauty of the mountains and enjoy it, have the peace of mind, knowing that we can do so in a healthy way."

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Arden Pope

Mary Lou Fulton Professor of Economics - Brigham Young University

"So what was interesting is here we have the Utah Valley serves as a natural exposure chamber. Then we have the largest source of pollution, Geneva Steel, shut down for 13 months and reopen. So this was a very interesting and unique natural experiment. When we looked at various health outcomes, especially children's respiratory admissions to hospital -- local hospitals, what we saw is when the steel mill was operating, the air pollution was much higher. "

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Brock Lebaron

Utah Division of Air Quality

"Well the air quality issue in the Uintah Basin is really about wintertime ozone. And ozone is normally considered a summertime pollutant. It's associated with large, urban areas. It's associated with emissions that come from automobiles. But in the Uintah Basin we have pretty much the opposite of that. We've got ozone occurring in the middle of the winter. So that's what makes it really unique. And we don't fully understand why that's happening."

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Bryce Bird

Utah Division of Air Quality

"Once we’ve made a decision, made a plan or a rule, the Air Quality Board is then required by administrative rules in the state to put that out for public comment. And the real focus of the public comment period is to make sure we didn’t miss anything, make sure that we applied the laws that are in place correctly and have identified enough controls to meet the standard."

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Edward Redd

State Representative - Logan

"Air quality is one of those things that when it's good, we all enjoy it. When it's not so good, we all wonder what it's doing to us and what kind of health problems it might cause. And it's one of those things, you have to breathe. We don't have a choice to stop breathing."

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Randy Martin

Associate Research Professor - Utah State University

"So, our cars and our area sources emit a fair quantity of what are called VOC's, volatile organic compounds. They also emit oxides of nitrogen, or NOC's. Those two species go through a series of chemical reactions. And then we also have in our atmosphere lots of ammonia, due to our very strong agricultural base here. So, you take the reactions of the NOC's and the VOC's, they ultimately for a compound called nitric acid, which is a gas phase. That combines with the ammonia in the air and forms ammonium nitrate, which is the main component of our PM2.5. It just is our blessing, if you will, that we have all the right components to form PM2.5 in our wintertime atmosphere. And it's such an enclosed valley that it can get to be very high levels."

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Dr. Robert Paine

Chief, Division of Respiratory, Critical Care and Occupational Pulmonary Medicine - University of Utah School of Medicine
Director, University of Utah Program for Air Quality, Health and Society

"We know that air quality is terribly important for human health. There are many studies over the years that have shown that poor air quality leads to people dying earlier. It leads to increased numbers of heart attacks. It leads to people with lung disease having more problems of shortness of breath, and earlier deaths. It causes kids to have asthma. Recent information even suggests that is a major contributor to lung cancer and other types of cancer."

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