Utah’s Environmental Challenges

“As bad as it is, I think there’s hope,” says John Lin, professor of atmospheric sciences in the College of Science at the University of Utah.

John Lin. Banner photo credit: Jim Steenburgh

Lin, who is also assistant director of the newly formed Wilkes Center for Climate Science & Policy, says the state’s desire to eventually host the Winter Olympics again has added some urgency to the matter of addressing Utah’s climate-related challenges, especially around air quality. He adds that the state’s response to such issues is often reflective of the “Utah way,” in which people with different beliefs talk to each other and work through problems.

The challenges are real, according to a story in U.S. News & World Report which often touts the Beehive State as “best” in many categories. The environment, including air quality, is not, however, one of them.

“With its five national parks, scenic mountain vistas and stunning red rock landscapes, environmental problems likely aren’t top of mind in most people’s perceptions of Utah,” the magazine reports.

“But the proof – and the pollution – is in the data.”

Utah ranks near the bottom in the natural environment category of the magazine’s recently released Best States rankings. “It’s a black mark on a largely sterling record for the No. 1-ranked state overall.”


Read the entire article by Elliot Davis Jr.