Posts tagged: Idaho DEQ
Idaho Department of Environmental Quality Director Toni Hardesty is leaving her post to become the new director of the Nature Conservancy in Idaho, the conservation organization announced today; she'll start her new job Feb. 27. Hardesty has headed the Idaho DEQ since 2004, serving under three governors. At the Nature Conservancy, she'll focus on “collaborative projects that protect land and water for nature and people.” Click here for the full announcement from the Nature Conservancy.
An unpleasant announcement on this sunny Friday from the Idaho DEQ: High levels of E. coli bacteria have been identified at Sandy Point Beach below Lucky Peak Dam, a popular swimming area and park. Warning signs have been posted; there's no swimming or wading until the dangerous bacteria levels abate. You can read the DEQ's announcement here; it recommends Barclay Bay Beach or Robie Creek Beach on Lucky Peak Reservoir as alternate locations, but Barclay Bay is closed tomorrow morning, from 6 a.m. to noon, for the swimming portion of the Spudman triathlon.
A Boise couple who defrauded the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality of hundreds of thousands in federal grant funds – and while they were at it, damaged Idaho school buses and caused a need for thousands in costly repairs – was sentenced in federal court today by U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge. Jorge Garcia, 50, a DEQ employee who submitted a fraudulent bid to do the federally funded work and then awarded the contract to himself and his wife, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release. His wife, Karen, was sentenced to five months of probation with 10 months of home detention with electronic monitoring, also followed by three years of supervised release. The two also must pay restitution; you can read the U.S. Attorney's office's full announcement here. “The Garcias violated the public trust,” said U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson. “Today’s sentencings make clear that abuse of positions of trust and intentional misuse of taxpayer money will result in sure punishment.”
KTVB-TV reporter Nishi Gupta broke a rather stunning story this week: An Idaho DEQ employee fraudulently secured a big-bucks DEQ contract in 2008 to install emission-reducing devices on school buses around the state through a federally funded program; three years later, school districts around the state are facing hundreds of thousands in repair work for the shoddy and even dangerous work done to their buses, and the former state employee - who was arrested in the Virgin Islands - has pleaded guilty to federal charges. You can read the full story here.