Two levels of environmental bureaucracy are hastening to assure us that there is nothing worrisome about the fact that Utah's largest polluters are 20 years late in filing some important paperwork. And, as far as the practical impact of the amount of pollution spewing from those refineries and industrial facilities, they may actually be right.
But most people will have no way of knowing if the missing permits actually made a difference in the quality of the air we all breathe until the permits get filed. It is kind of like losing your glasses, and being unable to look for them until they've been found.
Spokesmen for both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Utah Division of Air Quality suggest that compliance may still be a long time coming. The two agencies have apparently been at odds since 1994 over just what those permits should say.