Salt Lake City to get $1 million to improve air quality
Salt Lake City is set to receive $1 million from a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant in an effort to improve air quality in Utah's capital city.
How it works: The funding, which is pending City Council approval, would allow the city to develop a plan to reduce carbon emissions and air pollution and enhance public health, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said at a news conference at the nonprofit NeighborWorks on Tuesday.
- Utah Department of Environmental Quality executive director Kim Shelley said the state will expand air quality monitoring in underserved communities in Davis and Salt Lake counties.
Why it matters: West side neighborhoods have long encountered poor air quality due to nearby freeways, refineries and other pollutants.
- "West side neighborhoods have higher instances of pollution and associated health risks, and socioeconomic risk factors that exacerbate them," per a fact sheet provided by the EPA on Tuesday.
What they're saying: Mendenhall acknowledged that environmental injustices on the west side of Salt Lake City have "existed since redlining and have persisted for over 70 years."
Between the lines: The funding comes after the EPA launched an environmental justice assessment last year focused on six west side neighborhoods.
- The final report is expected to be released in late August.
The other side: Some longtime west-siders expressed mistrust over whether meaningful change will happen.
- "We're tired on the west side of having to fight for everything," said Alama Uluave, who said he's lived in Poplar Grove for about 40 years.
- David Galvan, who co-owns Mestizo Coffeehouse, said he was concerned over Utah Department of Transportation's plans to expand I-15 and how it would impact the area's air quality.
- "They're talking big dollars, and it could be transformative, but hopefully they do it right," he told Axios.
Of note: SLC was among more than 70 metro areas to be awarded funding through the Climate Pollution Reduction Act grant program.
More Salt Lake City stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Salt Lake City.