Could Growing Smog Problem Threaten Salt Lake’s Economic Growth?

In its continuing weeklong “America 360” series on Salt Lake City, National Journal looks at the potential economic impact of air quality problems along the Wasatch Front. 

Reports Nancy Cook:

Officials involved in the air-quality issue, such as Robert Grow, president of Envision Utah, a public-private organization devoted to thinking through the city’s future, are quick to point out that Salt Lake City’s smog does not crop up year-round. “Three hundred days a year, Utah looks like this,” says Grow, pointing outside to the bright, sunny weather on a recent spring day. “It’s not like Salt Lake has the same ongoing air problems as Mexico or L.A.”

The good news for Utahans is that air quality has now morphed into a top political and economic issue—even if activists debate whether the policies have gone far enough. “The last two years have been bad, and that’s raised the concern among the public. I see that as a positive thing since it’s mobilized the electorate,” says Alan Matheson, the governor’s senior environmental adviser.