When a long, complicated and expensive permit process results in an oil refinery that will pump significantly more of some kinds of pollution into the already filthy atmosphere of a frequently bottled-up airshed, one must wonder: Whose side is our state government on?
Now, it is true that if the owners of the Holly Refinery in West Bountiful did not have to obtain a permit from the Utah Division of Air Quality, the carbon, nitrogen and sulfur compounds its proposed expansion would be pouring into our air would have no limit at all. And that would be bad.
It is also true that the permit approved Monday by the DAQ does anticipate some significant reductions in a few specific pollutants. In particular, the new equipment that is to come online along with the refinery's plan to process more of the gunky crude being dug out of eastern Utah's Uinta Basin is expected to make significant cuts in the amounts of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.