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HEALTH DEPARTMENT OKS PANEL TO PROBE POLLUTION PROBLEMS

The Salt Lake City/County Health Department wants to take on the county's air quality problems by creating a panel to examine the causes and seek solutions to air pollution in the Salt Lake Valley.

The department's board approved a motion Thursday by Salt Lake County Commission chairman and board member Michael Stewart to appoint a 13-member clean air commission, which would act as an arm of the department and county.Stewart said members would represent business, government, residential and environmental interests of the county.

Salt Lake County exceeds national air quality standards for carbon monoxide, ozone and PM10 (fine particulate matter), which not only jeopardizes citizens' health but also funding for highways and other local program grants that hinge on compliance, Stewart said.

The state is already putting together a State Implementation Plan (SIP) dealing with PM10, and it proposes county participation in enforcing standards.

Stewart said the new Clean Air Commission would coordinate with state officials to avoid duplication and take advantage of the state's data gathering and influence with federal authorities.