Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment’s Statement on SB 234 and the Development of the Northwest Quadrant
In support of the community press conference today:
Date: Sunday, March 4, 2018
Time: 1:00 pm
Location: Utah State Capitol Rotunda
For years so much effort has been spent by the community, clean air advocates, state and local agencies and some of our state leaders to improve air quality and attain federal standards, particularly at the Wasatch Front. We would have thought by now that further development of any area in our region, would include purposeful consideration and strategic inclusion of community, environmental and health concerns.
Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment (UPHE) stands together with community representatives here today and we would like to see decisions made on the development of the Northwest Quadrant to incorporate the views reflected by stakeholders who worked on the Northwest Quadrant Master Plan. We would also like to see environmental and health views properly represented in any decision-making and planning body on the development of the area.
Future economic growth of the Salt Lake Valley can head in one of two directions: clean, high tech, or old school, dirty industry. We can pursue an “inland silicon valley” future or a Pittsburgh of the 1940s future. We are concerned about the interests behind creating a port authority that in the end would be a shortcut to increasing coal, oil and gas operations that would worsen our air quality. Everyone understands that Wasatch Front air pollution is a serious health hazard, with communities in the west side of Salt Lake bearing the brunt of air pollution. New diesel emissions, from additional truck and train traffic, and more congested freeways, is exactly the kind of development that will further degrade our air quality.
Medical research has shown that levels of air pollution lower than federal standards cause pregnancy complications and shorten lives. Utah residents want clean air, clean energy, and a clean future. Will the new infrastructure support or undermine the long-term climate considerations for Utah, the West and the country, and all our collective need to commit to renewable energy? There is nothing wrong with economic development, if it is done with community and environmental health as a foundation for decision-making.