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Taxing air polluters

Published April 4, 2013 1:01 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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Gina Morris' letter really struck me ("Smart moms," Forum, April 1). I've been thinking about the analogy put forth by Utah Moms for Clean Air air about how we don't allow anyone to pump sewage into our public streets but we do allow them to pump it into the public's air.

Since each type of pollution has negative health effects, no one should have the right to do that to someone else.

Morris' good idea is to tax the polluting industries. The tax shouldn't just go into the public treasury; it should go either directly to the people (who suffer the consequences) or to pay for the health care of those suffering from respiratory diseases.

But we should not only tax air-polluting industries. We should tax all air polluters, including cars, which contribute roughly half the pollution. The tax should be paid each year when you register your car, and it should be based on how much your car model pollutes and on how many miles it was driven the previous year.

As with industries, a stiff enough tax may give car owners an incentive to drive less and upgrade to less-polluting cars.

Ian Murphy

Park City