Roscoe Streyle: Creating the Department of Environmental Quality Makes Sense

The name-calling, angry, “retired” attack dog of the left Jack Zaleski has been at it again. Readers have to wonder why The Forum still gives him a platform to spew his dishonest venom.

The poor excuse of a column he wrote on April 16, 2017, “‘Quality’ in eyes of beholder,” is the epitome of poor journalism. The “former” editorial page editor has shown his true colors. He is truly just a partisan hack.

Federal overreach is far from a myth. We have felt the impacts of those regulations with the loss of over 60 jobs when a coal-fired power plant shuttered its doors within the last year.

Completely devoid of facts and substantive policy discussion, Zaleski used his platform to personally attack two colleagues of mine, Rep. Porter and Sen. Unruh. I’ve known both Legislators for many years, and are widely known to be some of the most respected, knowledgeable and hardest-working legislators in Bismarck. The personal attack against Sen. Unruh is particularly appalling. She’s worked tirelessly during her years of service to improve upon North Dakota’s regulatory burden, tax structure and environment.

Creating the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) just makes good sense. The current director will now report directly to the Governor instead of a medical doctor as it did under the previous structure. The North Dakota Health Department deals with human health related issues and the DEQ focuses on risk to the environment; like water quality, air quality and waste disposal oversight and regulation. By separating these two into separate agencies, we will allow each to solely focus on their core mission, increase opportunities for state primacy, reduce direct federal oversight, and lower the cost of implementing regulations.

Federal overreach is far from a myth. We have felt the impacts of those regulations with the loss of over 60 jobs when a coal-fired power plant shuttered its doors within the last year. But the future looks to be brighter. The new EPA and Interior Department leaders have expressed a strong desire to return regulatory control back to the states. By creating DEQ, the State of North Dakota is well positioned to take over even more of the regulatory tasks from the Federal government.

I applaud the prime sponsor, Sen. Jessica Unruh for her steadfast leadership in shepherding the bill through the Legislature. She deserves to be thanked for her work to protect both jobs in our state and our environment, not personally attacked by the likes of Jack Zaleski, the man with the truly oxymoronic title of “partisan hack journalist”.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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