SALT LAKE CITY - A legislative committee has signed onto the relocation plans of Stericycle from south Davis County to unincorporated Tooele County.
A House committee gave a favorable recommendation Wednesday to a joint resolution, which would allow the medical waste incineration company to move its operation to a new location. The bill, HJR 6, is sponsored by Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, and now advances to the House for further consideration.
The legislative recommendation and approval by the governor are necessary first steps in the relocation process, according to state statute, Hughes said.
Located in a neighborhood in North Salt Lake City, Stericycle has announced plans to relocate to a 40-acre parcel of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) property in Tooele County. A specific timetable for the relocation has not been outlined, but it is expected to take as long as two years to enact once the legal and construction process is complete.
Hughes claims the relocation plan is a win-win-win scenario, since it gets the company out of a residential neighborhood, will lead to a state-of-the-art facility in Tooele County and is going to an area where the fit is more natural.
Shawn Milne, a Tooele County Commissioner, read a statement from the board that outlined their support for the relocation plan, suggesting the plan will be properly vetted.
Seline Hoboy, vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs for Stericycle, said the Illinois-based company will upgrade its existing facility to come into compliance with new regulations that go into effect in October.
Hoboy claims the company's new facility in Tooele County will reduce pollutants by 90 percent and utilize the best available technology for incinerating medical waste.
The resolution is just one of several Stericycle-related pieces of legislation the Legislature is expected to consider this session. Rep. Becky Edwards, R-North Salt Lake, and Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, are also expected to address medical waste incineration in bills this session. Another bill being run by Sen. Luz Robles, D-Salt Lake City, also addresses the issue but was stalled in committee on first review.
In the meantime, the company still has some pending issues with the state. The Department of Air Quality on May 28 issued Stericycle a notice of violation and order to comply for multiple violations of its air-quality operating permit. The order required Stericycle to take immediate action to bring operations into full compliance. Stericycle has contested many of the findings, and the matter has been referred to an administrative law judge.
Rep. Merrill Nelson, R-Grantsville, downplayed any problems the company may have in Davis County, in making the motion to approve the resolution. He called its current violation a technical violation that happens in industry.
"That violation and nothing they have done has been traced to any kind of hazard. They're a responsible corporate citizen who has outgrown the current location. The time has arrived to relocate," Nelson said.
In the meantime, a neighborhood group opposed to the plant is scheduled to meet with Gov. Gary Herbert on Wednesday to air their concerns with the plant.
Dr. Brian Moench, president of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, said emissions from Stericycle would not be safe even if they were within state standards. He said his group would oppose relocating the company anywhere in the state.