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Utah's sickening smog dissipates, for now

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 27, 2013 at 6:34 pm •  Published: January 27, 2013

Weather conditions could set the stage this week for a return of bad air. Regulators blame temperature inversions, when winds calm and cold temperatures sink into valleys, trapping pollutants.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had singled out the greater Salt Lake region for much of January as having the nation's worst air.

More than 100 Utah doctors signed a petition Wednesday calling for immediate relief. They also criticized expansion plans by Salt Lake-area oil refineries that they said were almost certain to be approved by the Utah Division of Air Quality, the same agency that puts out pollution alerts.

The refineries say they are cutting some emissions even as they expand, but doctors say other emissions will rise and that nobody measures errant emissions from thousands of valves at a refinery that can wear out and leak over time.