Big City Smog Smothers Mesa County

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirmed what most Mesa County residents already knew: Grand Junction has smog. It’s not a little problem. In fact, Mesa County can have worse toxins and haze than Denver, according to a Denver Post story. The astonishing issue about Mesa County’s smog is Denver has 30 times more traffic, 2.1 million more vehicles and 2.6 million more people.High altitudes can increase levels of toxins from UV radiation, but Grand Junction at 4,586 feet is actually lower than Denver at 5,280 feet. EPA officials point the cause of the pollution is from the geological areas surrounding Grand Junction that seem to trap and stagnate air.

Earlier this year, the EPA proposed to weaken federal health standards for air pollution, specifically to stop monitoring air quality in areas with fewer than 100,000 people, which would exempt from its control major sources of “particulate matter” — polluting substances found in some forms of air emissions. Grand Junction has around 50,000 residents and Mesa County is estimated at over 125,000 in population.