North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has signed legislation separating the Environmental Health Section from the North Dakota Department of Health to create a standalone Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), effective in July 2019. The DEQ will administer and enforce the same environmental protection programs as the existing Environmental Health Section, which has been headed since 2002 by David Glatt.
The establishment of a DEQ streamlines government and acknowledges the importance of environmental protection in North Dakota by elevating that responsibility to a cabinet-level agency whose Director is appointed by and reports directly to the Governor. The section currently has about 174 positions, including engineers, scientists, chemists, microbiologists and administrative support staff.
The DEQ will be overseen by a new 13-member Environmental Review Advisory Board, created through the consolidation of the existing Air Quality Advisory Board and Water Pollution Control Advisory Board. The new board will consist of the state engineer, state geologist, Director of the state Game and Fish Department, and 10 members appointed by the Governor. To address concerns raised by the agricultural sector, the board also reserves three spots for representatives of crop agriculture, the livestock industry, and agronomy/soil sciences.