People who visited eastern Utah’s vast open spaces last winter might have thought they were doing their lungs a big favor by taking a deep breath of fresh, country air. But it turns out, they would have been better off going to Los Angeles or most other major cities.
According to new air-pollution data, breathing air around the oil and gas fields of the remote Uinta Basin was “unhealthy” on 40 days this past winter.
The problem was on par with the worst summertime ozone tracked by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the nation’s most polluted place, San Bernardino County, Calif. In addition, Uintah County’s ozone topped the worst high-ozone days in Salt Lake City and even industrial hubs such as Houston and Los Angeles.