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The Utah House passed legislation Monday clearing the path for Stericycle to move its medical waste incinerator from North Salt Lake to a new location in Tooele.
Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, said the unanimous approval of HJR6 by the Utah House is just the first step in the process and doesn't specify where the new incinerator would be located. The plan, now headed to the Senate, still must get regulatory approval and there is no hard time frame for the move.
Rep. Merrill Nelson, R-Grantsville, who represents the area in Tooele County where Stericycle may relocate, said he understands the concerns that opponents have about the health and air quality, but he supports the resolution allowing the move.
"I don't have concerns about what's being disposed of. This is medical waste we create when we go to the doctor's office," said Nelson, adding it's not nearly as toxic as nerve gas that the military has burned in the area.
Stericycle has been under pressure to move from local residents concerned about the health effects of the incinerator.
State regulators have issued a citation to Stericycle, alleging the smoke coming from Stericycle's stack has exceeded limits for dioxin, furan and nitrous oxides. And the plant failed to report exceeding emissions and rigged a stack test, regulators say.
Stericycle has denied the violations and taken legal steps to fight those citations.
Rep. Douglas Sagers, R-Tooele, said he spent Saturday meeting with his constituents to discuss the proposed move. He said the incinerator would be located about 30 miles from any homes and he is comfortable with the plan.
He would not, Sagers said, risk exposing his children or grandchildren to anything that might be harmful. "No way I'd do that," he said.