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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Editorials: Who's watching the environment?

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

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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

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