by Sallie Dean Shatz
Rio Tinto’s Bingham Mine is a top polluter in the country, and it’s planning a major expansion. What’s a risk, and what’s the alternative?
Terry Marasco, communications coordinator for Utah Clean Air, has stared at the numbers long and hard. His analysis suggests that criteria pollutants—major pollutants the EPA has set maximum exposure levels for—are on the rise in the Wasatch Front airshed. The majority of the increases come from large industry, the “point source” polluters—refineries and Rio Tinto’s Bingham Mine in the Oquirrh Mountains west of Salt Lake City.
Rio Tinto provides jobs and gives business to other businesses in the area. It contributes a significant amount of money to the community, most visibly evident in the new Utah Museum of Natural History building on Salt Lake City’s east bench. It is also one of the country’s top contributors to air pollution.