Utah bloggers talk air quality solutions with Kennecott

Happy President’s Day everyone!

Earlier this month, I was invited as a Utah blogger to sit down for lunch with Rio Tinto’s Kennecott to talk about Utah’s air quality and help discuss solutions. Before we dove into the discussion, we learned a bunch about Kennecott and it’s big roll in the Utah community.

The Kennecott copper mine (which is owned by Rio Tinto) is the largest man made hole in the world. You can even see it from space! Along with being a neat place to field trip to with the family, we learned a few things about Kennecott that I thought were really neat:

Rio Tinto’s Kennecott is the largest private economic driver in the state of Utah, and has been for over 100 years.
– Kennecott is concerned about our environment including Utah’s air quality.
– Kennecott has invested a lot into our community; like building communities such as Daybreak.
– they have also been an important partner on big community projects like the new natural history museum.

Every winter in Utah, there is a lot of focus on our bad air and who is to blame.

The bad air quality can last for weeks at a time and can be hard to handle. The inversion makes seasonal affect so much worse.

The main reason for our visit, was to discuss Utah’s air quality.

In the last few years, Kennecott has spent millions of dollars upgrading their giant hauling trucks to be more efficient. They also shut down a lot of their production during the winter to avoid adding to the pollution during times when the inversion is the worst.

With the cold air pushing down and the mountains surrounding us, bad air gets trapped in the valley. For those with asthma or other breathing issues, the air quality is of greater concern, but really, the air quality is an issue for all of us.

There are things we all can do to improve air quality. Most of these things are related to your car. While it’s easy to wonder how much it helps to turn you car off at the drive thru, or picking up your kids from school, the truth is we can see a big difference if we all make small changes.

I think it’s interesting that a few of these tips – like driving the speed limit – will also help extend the life of your car, and in turn help keep more money in your pocket (because you’ll pay less at the pump).

Below are a few charts on how Kennecott impacts our air quality, and how they are continuing to take steps to reduce their impact.

They have made a lot of changes in the last few years that are definitely making an impact for good on our air quality.

During our discussion, one thing that stood out to me is that we have dealt with poor air quality during the winter in Utah for decades. If anything, we are more aware of it now and taking steps to make it better. When it really comes down to who is to blame for our bad air quality, we ALL have responsibility. It takes conversations like this to be a reminder for all of us to do our part.

*image credits: Armelle Blog, Today’s Mama and Kennecott

I’d love to know, what are your biggest concerns when it comes to the air quality in Utah? Are there things you are doing to help the situation?

*Disclosure I was compensated for this post, but all thoughts and opinions here are my own.

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  1. 1

    This post is pretty hard to take seriously when you were compensated for it and clearly just parroted Kennecott’s talking points. That is exactly what they wanted you to do.

    • 2

      I agree with you that this blog post is essentially a commercial for Kennecott, and I get that might not sit well with some. However, that doesn’t mean that the information is inaccurate or invalid.

      They simply chose the avenue of blogs to get their message out vs a TV or radio commercial.

      If you’ve followed my blog long enough, than you’d know that taking care of the earth is something I value. So when this opportunity was presented to me, I was genuinely interested, and honestly I came away impressed with Kennecott’s efforts to reduce their impact on air quality, and I do think it’s a message that is worth sharing.

      I do appreciate your feedback and I understand that this type of post (which is rare) is not what you come here for.

      I hope you can find enough value in the majority of the content shared on NoBiggie to recognize that the occasional sponsored post like this, allow me to continue to invest the time and money into creating the content you love to come here for.

  2. 3

    Thanks for posting this Kami. I think it’s important to have reminders that if we just do one or two small things it can make a big difference in our air quality!

  3. 5

    Since I moved to SLC almost 2 years ago, the air quality is something that has concerned me. I think it’s easy for a lot of us to sit back and say it’s bad, but not as easy to do something about it. I’ll admit I’m one of them. I’ve looked into taking public transportation, but my drive to work is currently 15-20 minutes and taking public transportation would increase my commute to well over an hour. That’s tough. I have been trying to drive less, though, and combine multiple trips into one.

    I agree that it’s going to take a group effort from all of us (businesses, gov’t, individuals) to make a difference. I hope that all of the exposure this issue is garnering means that real change will come soon.

    One last thing: it’s nice to see bloggers being active in our community :)

    • 6

      Thanks Christine. I think that is so great that you have even thought through the idea of taking public transportation, when so many won’t even consider it. It will need to be a group effort to make any sort of change.

      Thanks for chiming in. It’s definitely a conversation that we all need to have.

  4. 7
    jen @ Tatertots & Jello says:

    I wish I could have attended!! I agree – if everyone can make a few small changes, I think it will really make a difference. Thanks for the post and I hope people will see that they can make a difference!

    And I have to disagree with the first commenter. I think reaching out to bloggers who live in our community, have families here, and really care about the quality of life here is a great way to get the message across that air quality is a big issue and one that we as bloggers really care about.

    As a person with asthma, this issue is huge for me. And it’s something that I really am interested in and it really does affect my quality of life. I think that Kennecott is trying to help make air quality better and if we can help bring information to our readers, that is a great thing!!


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