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State seeks Utahns to serve on environmental boards

Published December 28, 2012 12:53 pm

Overhaul • Panels on air and water quality, waste and radiation need qualified members.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Want a say on water pollution in Utah? How about radiation regulation or air pollution?

Then the Utah Department of Environmental Quality has an invitation for you: Apply to serve on one of the state's environmental-policy boards.

There are five of them: air quality, radiation control, drinking water, water quality and solid and hazardous waste. And each needs at least a few new members, thanks to industry-crafted legislation last year that reconfigured the boards. Under the legislation, the boards have lost their authority over permit appeals to the DEQ executive director but they retain the responsibility of making recommendations on regulations to state officials.

One panel, the Radiation Control Board, was dissolved in the spring and reconfigured last fall.

But two of the designated spots — one for a member of a non-governmental organization and another for a radioactive-waste-industry representative — remain unfilled after a dustup about adding an executive from EnergySolutions Inc., the state's largest radioactive waste business, for the first time in more than a decade.

The nomination for the other spot was also pulled at that time, said Senate Chief of Staff Ric Cantrell, noting the move was not because Uranium Watch Director Sarah Fields lacked qualifications,but as a matter of balance.

Meanwhile, other boards are slated to be revamped this spring, including the panels that review policy on air quality and water quality. Each nine-member board has positions for people representing government, industry, health professionals and community organizations. Members are not paid, and they can count on attending a meeting a month.

Gov. Gary Herbert's Office reviews applicants and sends nominees' names to the Senate, which votes to confirm the individuals before they are seated on the boards.

Herbert spokesman Nate McDonald noted that names are still being fielded for the DEQ openings.

"There have been a few names submitted for the governor to consider," he said in an email. "The plan is to review those names and to have it determined before the Senate meets again to confirm."

That's expected to be during the 2013 Legislature that begins on January 28.

Applications must be submitted online: www.utah.gov/governor/boards.


Twitter: @judyfutah




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