To Utah's Representatives:
My name is Ashley Anderson and I'm writing to you on behalf of myself, my husband Aaron Garrett and my son, Anderson Garrett. We are Salt Lake City residents and are facing some of the worst pollution in the country and, at times, the world. While a portion of this is due to a naturally caused inversion, it is significantly amplified by the refineries in our area, specifically Holly Refinery expanded permits.
We have written to the EPA and to Governor Herbert multiple times this winter with no response and so we reach out to you with our stories, asking for more action on behalf of our community.
Growing up I was susceptible to respiratory illness and as I’m currently in the seventh month of pregnancy I’ve been told to stay indoors to avoid the negative effects of pollution my unborn child. These effects include learning disabilities and other medical conditions that are associated with mothers who smoke; they range from premature birth and low birth weight to autism and sensory processing disorders. As a woman who has never smoked I find it reprehensible that going out of doors in my own neighborhood is akin to smoking cigarettes for my unborn son.
Additionally, my son Anderson was born with a rare inflammatory tumor and, as you can imagine, it is of the utmost importance that he avoid this sort of pollution to stay in good health. At age 2 it’s close to impossible to explain to him why he can’t play in the snow outside and how the refineries in our neighborhood prevent him from playing in his own backyard safely. Every morning after breakfast he looks out the window and asks "mommy? is the pollution gone yet?".
While my husband Aaron doesn’t have significant health concerns from the air quality, as an avid runner he too is unable to engage in his daily pursuits as a result of the winter pollution.
It is unconscionable that our state government has allowed expanded permits for refineries which cause a significant portion of this pollution. As a family we use mass transit to get to and from work, share only one car and have as energy efficient a home as we are able to afford. But our own actions can not reverse the air quality without the aid of government regulation for high pollution industry. If anything, our care for the environment has to decrease in favor of self-care when it’s unsafe for us to even walk to train stations or bus stops. In the mornings our car and windows are covered not with frost but with frozen air pollution.
Please take action for our community. Please look into the Holly Refinery permits and see that they negatively impact the citizens you aim to protect and that no economic benefit outweighs the health and wellness of life-long Utah citizens and their young children.
We are proud residents of our community but the conditions in which we are forced to live based on these refineries is unacceptable. We do our part for air quality, we rely on you to do yours.
365 Center St. SLC, UT 84103