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Paul Rolly: While monitoring air pollution, Utah officials add to it

Published February 22, 2013 9:40 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Despite warnings to lawmakers about health dangers associated with bad air quality, and Gov. Gary Herbert's response to concerned doctors that they need to carpool more, the state has adopted a policy making the problem worse.

It comes from the Air Monitoring Section of the Utah Division of Air Quality, of all places.

To accommodate all of the calibration equipment, lab work, trailers and vehicles required for the monitoring network, the state leases a warehouse in West Valley City equipped with cubicles and computers for employees. Several state vans were assigned to the air monitoring warehouse so employees could go directly to their assigned monitoring sites around the state.

It seemed to work well, but with the completion of the new offices for the Department of Environmental Quality at 195 N. 1950 West in Salt Lake City two years ago, management moved the air monitoring employees to the new offices, while keeping the monitoring equipment at the West Valley location, about 6 miles away.

The employees are now required to check in at the DEQ location, pick up a vehicle, then travel to the West Valley monitoring center to get the equipment required for the service runs.

After the fieldwork is done, the service equipment is returned to the West Valley location, and the state vehicle returned to the DEQ offices.

It seems like the bureaucrats worked overtime to impose unnecessary requirements that force air quality employees to drive many more miles each week, further polluting the air.

DEQ has applied for approval to build a warehouse on state land near the new DEQ headquarters that would house the air monitoring apparatus, as well as equipment used by other DEQ divisions. But the request has never been listed high enough on the State Building Board priority list to qualify for funding from the Legislature.

Due diligence • I wrote recently about a CenturyLink customer receiving a 13-cent refund in the mail and another who got a 58-cent refund while settling his late brother's accounts.

It gets even better.

A Park City woman got a5-cent check from Century­Link after she canceled the service, but later got a 60-cent bill after further investigation found she owed that amount.

And a Grantsville woman received a 3-cent refund in the mail — after she died.

Bait and switch? • A Salt Lake City man and his wife drove to Las Vegas last week for a grandson's soccer tournament and noticed billboards along I-15 advertising $30-a-night rooms and free breakfast at the Virgin River hotel and casino in Mesquite.

They also noticed the billboards on the way back between Las Vegas and Mesquite and, after a long day at the tournament, decided to stop in Mesquite rather than drive all the way home.

But when they ordered a $30 room, on a Monday when business was slow, they were told there are no $30 rooms. They got one for $38 and even though there were two of them, they only got one free breakfast.

When the traveler told the clerk about the billboard ads, the clerk just shrugged his shoulders.

Speaking of billboards • It appears that whoever devised the advertising slogan for a law firm in Utah County did a good job of demographic research.

The billboard, along northbound I-15 between Provo and Lehi, reads: "DexterLaw.com. Because Your Home Teacher Doesn't Practice Law."

prolly@sltrib.com

Paul Rolly's column appears Wednesdays and Fridays in the Utah section, Sundays in the Opinion section, and online at sltrib.com on Mondays.