Even in our wonderful community, there is

air pollution

To the Editor:

It’s a beautiful September day!

Every day with good health and living in a vibrant community is a wonderful reality, realized. I marvel at the groomed college campus and the downtown charm. The Kittitas Valley is a model of family agriculture, decades of water planning, and continued persistence in values and tradition. All systems working well here!

What is perfect, is flawed, of course. We live in an industrialized nation and world. We have air quality monitors which capture and test for 2.5 PPM (Parts per Million) particulates, and ground-level ozone. Don’t worry: we “average” most of the days with”good” levels. But what does that mean exactly?

It means we have and endure pollution which harms human health.

Averaging the highs and lows of 2.5 PPM particulates and ozone doesn’t change the fact we have poor air quality, despite the official designation of “good” on “average”. On September 9 at 9:14 am, 11:57 am and 2:37 pm, 2.5PPM measured in the ‘Very Unhealthy’ levels at 97 to 124 micrograms per cubic meter of air respectively.

See the CWU Air Quality monitor at www.geology.cwu.edu/airquality/.

Our reality is a freeway full of fossil-fuel combusting vehicles that emit these pollutants. 30,000 vehicles travel I-90 each day, every year. See WSDOT.wa.gov Annual Traffic Reports.

Imagine the Kittitas Valley without the pollutants of these vehicles because they are instead vehicles that emit no pollutants. Imagining a clean energy future is as simple as that! Everything, everywhere, is better because all pollution causes harm to all life.

Our leadership needs to plan for a ‘Clean Energy Corridor’ with EV charging parks and emissions-free public buildings. Cities forging the trail to the future write ‘how to’ manuals like the one from the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance: “Game Changers: Bold Actions by Cities to Accelerate Progress Toward Carbon Neutrality”. We don’t have to ‘invent the wheel’; it’s being done for us — but we need to plan now.

Leadership should anticipate opportunity and drive policy toward clean energy systems, starting with carbon neutral public buildings and EV supercharging stations to capture the traffic soon to arrive on I-90. Public buildings using public funds demand climate mitigation for all their energy systems.

Let’s imagine planning clean energy policy to create a Kittitas Valley without air quality monitors. Together, we can create a future where the air, water and land are pollution free. This is a worthy future, realized.

Meghan Anderson

Ellensburg

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