Clearing the air

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Most people know that clean air is healthier to live in, but a BYU professor is proving that it’s actually cheaper too. Dr. C. Arden Pope, an Economics professor, recently suggested cleaning up the air to cut costs at the Legislature’s Economic Development Task Force.

“The benefits of reducing air pollution in terms of health benefits seems to be much greater than the costs,” Pope said.

Pope made it clear that although he can’t put a direct dollar value on a human life, as health care costs and premature deaths go down with less air pollution, overall spending decreases, as well.

In addition to the health benefits, Pope found that for every dollar spent preventing pollution, you can actually save ten dollars in the long run.

The Legislative committee asked Pope lots of questions about his research, including whether big companies would still come to Utah if its air quality was poor. Some BYU students give clean air quality a top priority when looking at places to live.

“I think it’s really crucial to think about that when you’re choosing somewhere to live, even for your own health and especially for your kids’ health,” Lydia Roberts, a BYU student, said.

But according to Pope, finding a cost-effective way to improve the air quality is the key to passing new legislation for clearing the skies.

“In terms of reducing air pollution, we want to get the biggest bang for our buck that we can,” Pope said.

According to the Utah Petroleum Association, Utah refineries have invested $1 billion in improvements to cut pollution.

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