Editorials: Who's watching the environment?
Published: February 20, 2012 12:30PM
Updated: February 20, 2012 12:30PM

Above: Gov. Gary Herbert's 1/31/12 presser announcing his voluntary air quality initiative.

- Enviro boards: SB21 dilutes citizens' voice - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

The only possible reason Republicans in the Legislature have to change the makeup and dilute the authority of Utah’s citizen environmental boards is to give more of that authority to polluting industries and people who support, and are supported by, them. SB21 would do just that.
It’s not surprising that the bill introduced by Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, was written by the Utah Manufacturing Association and the Utah Mining Association. Neither is it surprising that the Manufacturing Association gave $86,000 to candidates during the past four years.
Before Dayton first proposed her bill last November, she said she believes the federal agency set up to protect Americans from chemical pollution in air, water and land, the Environmental Protection Agency, is illegal. And she said any protections of Utah’s environment should keep in mind “Utah values,” which we fear really means valuing industry interests over the individual health of Utahns. ...
... The boards now oversee and hear permit appeals in the state departments of air quality, radiation control, drinking water, water quality, and solid and hazardous waste. Dayton’s bill would also transfer to the DEQ’s executive director the boards’ authority to adjudicate appeals of permit decisions and other rulings. And, of course, that one person — appointed by the Republican governor — is much more easily influenced by partisan interests, which, for Republicans, are often industry interests. ...

Not that all this fuss is unique to Utah:
- We won't do that: Talk of negotiating for benefits in return for nuke waste is laughable - Las Vegas Sun Editorial
- Idaho's oil and gas regulations require a consistent statewide policy - Idaho Statesman Editorial
- Fracking guidelines needed, but not more hoops to jump through - Casper (Wyo.) News-Tribune Editorial
- Christie war on 'red tape' puts N.J. environment at risk - Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger Editorial
- Dust again? - Albany (Ore.) Democrat-Herald Editorial
- Proposed tire landfill needs extra scrutiny - Bozeman (Mont.) Daily Chronicle Editorial
- Welcome to Puget Sound, Mr. President — environmental work in progress - Lance Dickie, The Seattle Times