Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

February 4, 2014
Let’s not allow Stericycle to locate in Tooele County

With Valentine’s Day approaching, love is in the air. And maybe more, if Stericycle finagles new digs in the county (“Medical waste co. considers move to county,” Jan. 28).

Interestingly, while state officials are imposing fines for wood-burning in an effort to improve air quality (“No easy fixes to cleaning local air quality,” Jan. 28), Tooele County officials are giving come-hither glances to the company that owns a controversial medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake.

According to the website of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the primary air quality policy maker for the State of Utah, Stericycle allegedly committed multiple permit violations in May last year.

Under recent pressure from Davis County residents, Stericycle hopes to relocate to Tooele County area pending a three-part legislative and permit approval from the legislature, governor and DEQ. Selin Hoboy, Stericycle’s vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs, said she expects the process to take about six months.

Long enough for us to take stock, I suppose.

Why, oh why, are we always getting set up with these kinds of blind dates?

On the plus side, they’ll be required to pay a hefty tab (mitigation fees). And it’s another beau (business) in our cap.

I’m sorry, but if a girl were to date a boy with the same ratio of negative versus positive characteristics, I would tell her to keep looking.

Why even give Stericycle a chance? Thirty nine other states have already banned medical incinerators. Utah’s DEQ lists dioxins, mercury and lead — chemicals known to be particularly toxic to children and pregnant women — as some of the toxins allegedly emitted by Stericycle.

Attractive, huh?

And the county thinks wood stove smoke is bad? Would we really want Stericycle emissions to mingle with the clean air we are seeking to protect?

When we had that inversion in Grantsville a few weeks ago, the air trapped everything. As a Tooele County resident, I want clean air as much as our Davis County counterparts. I don’t want toxic emissions that can destroy my family’s health. I suspect my neighbors feel the same way.

Flirt with businesses like Stericycle, and we come off looking desperate. In the Jan. 28 Transcript-Bulletin article, Tooele County Commissioner Shawn Milne said, “It’s comforting to know there are companies looking in our direction.”

Yes, Stericycle’s indeed looking, and we should be running the other way.

“Comforting” is a curious choice of words. Disturbing, more like it. Because not everything should come down to how much a date is willing to pay, but how they’ll treat us for the rest of our life.

If we let Stericycle into our county, what will that say about us? I’ve known girls who keep dating the wrong kind of guy. Pretty soon, word gets around and they get asked out by the most questionable of characters.

Oh wait. We already have a toxic-waste reputation. But why should we make it worse?

Tooele County, we have better dating options out there. Politely thank Stericycle for their time, and show them the door.


Jewel Punzalan Allen is a memoir writing consultant and an award-winning journalist who lives in Grantsville. Visit her website at

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