The Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill that aims to prevent another controversy like the one surrounding the Stericycle medical waste incinerator from happening again in the future.
Sen. Todd Weiler’s SB196 would prohibit the Department of Environmental Quality from issuing a permit to a facility that burns infectious waste if it is within a 2 mile radius of a residential neighborhood. But, the bill only applies to new permits, and would not affect Stericycle’s North Salt Lake facility. Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake, voted no on the bill because he says it doesn’t do enough to address the concerns of Stericycle’s current neighbors.
“I think they’ve been a very bad corporate citizen," he says. "I think this bill is a feel good that really doesn’t not get substantively to the problem so I vote no.”
Sen. Weiler, R-Woods Cross, says that he is going to make sure that Stericycle leaders follow through with their plans to move and don’t pull a bait and switch on the legislature.
“When this bill was in committee I sent a warning that if that’s the case, I will be back," he says, "Whether it’s in a special session or next year. So, I want to renew that threat, if you will, because I will not sit by idly if this body is being played.”
The legislature is in the process of approving Stericycle’s proposed move. They are currently looking at a site in Tooele County that is about 30 miles from any residential neighborhood.