Controversy and contention loom around the proposed Inland Port project with disagreements around jurisdiction and concerns about pollution impacts on the Wasatch Front. Frustrations have sown the seeds of hostility and even violence. Some of this frustration can come from lack of information about the good things happening on the ground to address environmental sustainability.
Last week Utah’s Department of Air Quality (DEQ) reported on progress made toward assessing baseline levels of air pollution as part of a larger plan to understand and plan for air quality protections around the Inland Port.
What is baseline air quality monitoring?
This winter, Utah Sen. Luz Escamilla passed SB 144 Environmental Quality Monitoring Amendments, which directs the DEQ to establish and maintain monitoring facilities to measure environmental impacts from inland port development and to report the results of the monitoring.
Baseline monitoring allows the state to capture current emissions as well as any increasing emissions due to the Inland Port development to assess and monitor the real impact of the project and enforce and adjust sustainability plans and air quality controls.
What’s happening now
The DEQ has used modeling to determine where to put monitoring stations based on the speed and direction of the wind in the area and taking into consideration how wind shifts directions from day to night. The team has identified the following three locations for monitors to capture baseline data:
- Utah State Prison – This location is under contract. Timing of installation is currently uncertain, but the DEQ is aiming to install as soon as possible before the end of this year.
- Monticello Academy – This West Valley City charter school location is also under contract with installation to begin soon.
- DEQ Technical Support Center – This station has already been installed atop this building with a station on top (in place now). This station will be able to capture airport emissions, which something the state had not been able to do before.