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Utah County residents ranked air pollution first, ahead of education and economy, as the most important concern facing citizens, according to a poll conducted for Geneva Steel Corp.

And 81 percent of those responding to the Dan Jones and Associates poll indicated pollution is the worst aspect of Geneva. About the same percentage interviewed said jobs and employment is the best aspect of the steel company.The survey was commissioned to gauge what residents see as important issues facing citizens and Geneva and how well Geneva is responding to their concerns.

Nearly half, 48 percent, of those surveyed said Geneva is not complying with government air quality requirements while 36 percent indicated the steel company is complying. Sixteen percent did not know.

Geneva last month delivered the first in a series of fine particulate data to the State Bureau of Air Quality in an effort to learn where pollution control equipment should be placed.

Steel giant USX Corp. closed the aging mill in 1987 in a bitter labor dispute. A group of Utah entrepreneurs bought the mill in August 1988 for $40 million, less than a third of its estimated liquidation value.

"The overall impression of the majority (72 percent) of Utah County residents about Geneva Steel is positive; in fact, one third of the residents (34 percent) have a very positive impression," the study released Saturday said.

Age and education influence how well the steel company is viewed. Those age 18 to 35 and college graduates "tend to have a more negative impression than other subgroups" within a given category.

The surveyors interviewed 401 people during April.


(Additional information)

Survey highlights

-Three-fourths of Utah County residents believe the community is supportive of Geneva Steel;

-An overwhelming majority feel Geneva is important to the local and state economy;

-Nearly two-thirds believe Geneva Steel representatives are credible;

-Nearly three-quarters said reopening Geneva benefited the state; one in five viewed the reopening as detrimental;

-About half of the respondents said the new owners are committed to modernizing the plant and protecting the environment;

-More than three-quarters said local ownership of Geneva is important.