lawmaker criticizes Utah radioactive waste oversight

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 3:06 PM


SALT LAKE CITY— A Senate leader is asking whether Utah’s Department of Environmental Quality should be dissolved and the top radiation-control official ousted amid an audit critical of the state’s oversight of low-level radioactive waste.

Republican Senate President Mike Waddoups of Taylorsville attacked the agency Tuesday after reviewing two audits by the Legislative Auditor General’s Office. The reports suggest the state relies too heavily on regulated companies and federal agencies to ensure Utah’s waste control laws are being followed.

Auditors found that 37 containers of highly hazardous waste came to the state improperly. Utah bans the class C waste, which federal agencies say remains hazardous for about 500 years.

The Salt Lake Tribune reportsDEQ Director Amanda Smith called the reports "misleading" and says auditors misunderstand the radioactive waste industry.

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