Prepping for a new state cabinet agency

Jul 11, 2017

State Health Dept. Environmental Health Division director Dave Glatt.
Credit State Health Dept.

The State Health Department’s Division of Environmental Health is preparing to become its own separate agency.

The 2017 Legislature created the framework for a Department of Environmental Quality.

But before the Agency can be established, there's work to do.

"We need to give a submittal to the (federal) EPA," said Division director Dave Glatt. "We have to show EPA the organization is not going to change."

After that, Glatt said the Department will start getting name changes in uts administrative rules.

"That process will probably take about 12 months," Glatt said.

Glatt said the main mission won't change.

"Clean air, clean water and livable land," Glatt said. "Air emissions -- making sure all the large emitters comply with the Clean Air Act, all the cities and industries comply with the Clean Water Act, and making sure solid waste is handled appropriately."

Glatt said his division has been operating pretty much on its own for a number of years – so he doesn’t think much will change.

The DEQ will become a cabinet agency – with the director to be appointed by the Governor. Glatt said there are advantages to that.

"A more direct line of communication to the Governor, and more accountability," Glatt said. "It also elevates the overall orgnaization, and lets people know environmental protection is an important component of what the state does."

Glatt says after all the paperwork is done, public meetings will be held across the state to introduce people to the new agency.