BY TOM BUSSELBERG
FARMINGTON — The Davis County Commission decided against releasing a letter in support of the process used to select the West Davis Corridor alternative.
County Commission Chair John Petroff said the letter is intended to show support for the environmental impact assessment process used by the Utah Department of Transportation in its selection process.
The alternative announced last month followed three years of study and input received from many groups, he said.
“We might want to do a little tweaking, might want to add some things,” Petroff said Tuesday. “We want to express appreciation for the fair and open process that we believe will continue.”
“We want to give every person a chance” to give input, Petroff said. “We’ll continue to make modifications, pass a resolution at some point.”
He recalled how UDOT started with nearly three dozen potential alternative routes before narrowing them down. Input has been received from farmers, waterfowl groups, clean air advocates and many others, Petroff said.
“Some homes might be bought up, others might be closer to a freeway than they would have wanted, but for the county, it will help us prosper and provide a good quality of life,” he said.
Of “well over” 6,000 emails received on the issue, the county commission has received hundreds Р all of which have been forwarded to UDOT without comment, Petroff said.
“We’ve tried to look at this as not an emotional issue, one where we’re not taking sides,” County Commissioner Bret Millburn said adding, “We want to make sure people have the opportunity to comment.”
Salt Lake City resident Carl Ingwell spoke out against the corridor during the commission meeting’s public comment segment.
“I don’t agree a freeway is necessary for growth. I believe supporting the process is a way to skirt the issue,” he said.
Requests of UDOT to included a Shared Solutions plan being drafted by various environmental groups were denied, Ingwell said.
That solution would reduce urban sprawl and pollution, while promoting a more active transportation system with walking, bicycling and use of public transit, he said.
He has founded such groups as Governor, We Cannot Breathe, and says that group has 1,000 members and includes a blog, wecannotbreathe.blogspot.com.
Meanwhile, Amanda Smith, director of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, was in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to testify before Congress on EPA plans to enforce stricter standards for ozone under the “prescriptive” Clean Air Act.
She told KSL Radio Tuesday afternoon that the standards could harm Utah, particularly in rural areas. That’s because naturally-occurring ozone and other air quality level issues wouldn’t be accounted for in the new standards, she said.
“It makes more sense to pro-actively address Utah’s (and the Intermountain West’s) unique air problem rather than a cookie-cutter approach mandated by the Clean Air Act,” she said further in a DEQ press release.