2010 Jan. 17: ID & UT Cache Valley: Idaho & Utah, Local air pollution a cold, hard fact
Air monitors show that particulate pollution in the valley is higher on some winter days than any place in the country, and the medical establishment warns that this form of air pollution poses a health risk, yet some locals refuse to accept either conclusion as truth.
If scientific tests showed there were high levels of arsenic in your mashed potatoes, would you criticize the person doing the tests and dig in anyway? Not likely. So how is the air situation any different?
Politics is probably the answer.
For some local conservatives, the valley’s dirty air is just another environmental concern perpetuated by liberals. Like global warming, they see it as a product of inexact science conducted by people with an agenda, and they emotionally connect it to all the liberal causes they oppose, from PETA to Greenpeace to the ACLU.
This, we would argue, is wrong thinking. Dirty air is dirty air. A health hazard is a health hazard. There is nothing political about it.
Politics rightly comes into play when we debate what ought to be done about the dirty air — whether actions such as auto emissions tests and wood-burning bans are justified. And personal choice comes into play when we talk about things individuals can do to improve the situation, such as limiting driving and not idling our cars for too long.
Opinions on these issues run the gamut, as they should, but to deny an air problem even exists is to ignore a reality right in front of your face. It’s like saying, “Pass me those poisoned potatoes.”