Environmental Quality Head A `Breath Of Fresh Air’ New Director Promises More Cooperation With Idaho Industry
Gov. Phil Batt’s new director of the Division of Environmental Quality pledged to institute a new era of cooperation on Tuesday with corporate Idaho.
“In the past there have been adversarial relationships with the business community - relationships that have not encouraged economic development and may not have resulted in the goal of cleaner air and water for Idaho,” Wally Cory told legislative budget writers.
Cory, formerly the public works director and city engineer for the city of Caldwell and most recently a private engineer in Florida, was greeted with warmth by some committee members, who called former director Joe Nagel arrogant and belligerent.
“You bring a breath of fresh air,” conservative Republican Sen. Rex Furness of Rigby said.
Cory promised to speed up the process for issuing emissions permits to new businesses and “engender a more positive statewide image of the agency.”
His approach mirrored that of the new Joint Legislative Task Force on Idaho’s Environmental Common Sense Initiative, which wants to streamline the permit process by requiring only one permit for an entire operation instead of the numerous ones mandated now.
“I believe Idaho is on the cutting edge in an area where we can make a significant impact on how we regulate businesses,” Sen. Hal Bunderson, R-Boise, said.
But Melinda Harm of the Idaho Conservation League said the Task Force agenda, and Cory for that matter, have a clear agenda.
“When you look at their agenda which includes lowering permit fees, cutting back environmental enforcement and they’re claiming there are too many regulated chemicals, you’ve got to start asking questions,” Harm said.
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