Letter: To improve Utahns’ health, Gov. Cox must turn away from fossil fuels

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Gov. Spencer Cox at a news conference in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 22, 2021.

Gov. Cox, I feel, has the best of intentions. However, there seems to be some contradiction in what he wants for Utah and what he is actually doing. Gov. Cox has three goals for his first 100 days. One of those is to improve the disparities in the health of Utahns — to avoid a ZIP code predicting negative health. Yet, he must realize many Utahns on the west side of Salt Lake suffered higher rates from COVID.

Data suggests long term exposure to pollutants damages the lungs, making them more susceptible to disease. (Of course, there are also other reasons.) With that in mind, it would make sense to limit pollutants. Not so, not here, not in Utah.

He is promoting them with the state’s fight over the public lands. About one fourth of all our emissions are extracted from public lands. These same lands also sequester 15% of carbon. If Utah gets ownership of these lands, they will mine them. That produces more pollution. More pollution not only exacerbates the impact of poor air quality, it affects the drought conditions he also warns of us.

If Gov. Cox really wanted improvement, he would do all he could to stop the use of fossil fuels. This in turn, would slowly improve health conditions for everyone, decrease the heat wave in the West causing the drought and massive wildfires, and sequester more carbon. He needs to work on sustainability in a sensible, data backed manner that manages all aspects of our health and the environment.

Patricia Becnel, Ogden

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