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Today's word on journalism

Monday, April 24, 2006

Dueling masters on words:

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary."

--William Faulkner, writer (1897-1962), on Ernest Hemingway, writer (1899-1961)

"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"

--Ernest Hemingway, writer (1899-1961), on William Faulkner, writer (1897-1962)

EPA considers change in air standard that Cache Valley would have trouble meeting

By Megan Sonderegger

March 21, 2006 | The Environmental Protection Agency is considering lowering the air standard, an adjustment that will reduce the number of pollution particles in order to maintain better air quality, said county executive Lynn Lemon, a decision which he says will be nearly impossible to achieve in Cache County.

The air quality standard is a form of measurement that sets standards on six principal pollutants using units of parts (particles) per million. These measurements set limits on the particle size and the amount of air pollutants allowed in each geographical region in order to provide ambient air quality to residents.

"If they (EPA) lower the standard they will take away our incentives, everyone will just throw their hands in the air and say I can't do it," Lemon said.

Lemon said good air quality is hard to achieve in Cache Valley because of its large animal population and its geographical layout. He said county officials have struggled to maintain the current standard and reducing the standard will complicate their efforts considerably.

"We literally live in a bowl," Lemon said.

Lemon said Cache Valley's high animal population increases ammonia content, which mixes with nitrate generated from automobiles to produce unclean air. The extreme air pressure created in Cache Valley's geographical region then traps the bad air, resulting in inversions that are hard to prevent.

"The most important thing we can do is reduce our driving," Lemon said.

He said there is a significant decrease in the risk of an inversion on Sundays when the traffic count is down by one-half reducing the particle content/bad air by one-half. Lemon said other suggestions have been made such as required admission tests and the replacement of older cars but these methods are costly and unrealistic to lower income residents.

"We were worried about punishing the people who have the least ability to fix it," Lemon said.

Lemon said an education program has been established to increase awareness during inversion periods. He said during these periods of time officials have asked residents to reduce driving significantly, stay indoors and find alternative ways of transportation. Although Lemon said these suggestions are unpopular he assured that inversions are only 10 to 15 time a year and has asked residents to be adaptable to the circumstances.

"It's not like we have bad air all the time," he said.

Lemon said although Cache Valley's heavy inversions have the greatest effect on those with respiratory problems they can ultimately cause health problems to residents over long periods.

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