Stericycle’s proposed relocation from a North Salt Lake neighborhood to Tooele County will move forward to the state senate after Monday afternoon’s unanimous vote.
Reps. Doug Sagers, R-Tooele, and Merrill Nelson, R-Grantsville, both voted to support the bill, which passed 73-0 with two abstaining.
The vote was an important step, allowing the process of evaluating Stericycle’s proposed relocation, Sagers said.
“Without that vote, the process would have been dead,” he said. “At any point in the process, this entire thing can be stopped.”
Though he said he still believes it is important to evaluate whether the move is appropriate and safe for Tooele residents, Sagers added that in his research prior to the vote, he turned up nothing that he felt warranted bringing the legal process to a halt.
“My children and grandchildren live in Tooele,” he said. “I would do nothing to jeopardize the health of my children or grandchildren.”
Both Sagers and Nelson also attended a Saturday afternoon town hall meeting to hear out constituents’ feelings about the joint resolution that would permit the relocation.
Residents who attended called on their elected officials to defeat the resolution and allow citizens and representatives alike more time to consider the matter. At that meeting, Sagers said the house had agreed to postpone voting on the Stericycle resolution in light of requests for a town hall meeting with Tooele County residents.
County residents who oppose the relocation expressed dismay at the vote on the newly-formed Facebook page Tooele County Citizens for Clean Air. Members of the page have begun to call for residents to watch for, attend, and testify at the senate’s hearings on the matter, which are expected to take place in the next few days.
However, Sagers said the majority of the feedback he has received has asked for the proposal to continue through the legal process.
Stericycle, an Illinois-based medical waste handler, has requested to relocate its North Salt Lake medical waste incinerator to the Rowley area in light of pressure from activist groups and residents of the Foxboro neighborhood immediately adjacent to the incinerator.
Stericycle came under fire for a 2013 emissions violation that the company says was the result of a series of four mechanical failures. An investigation into the violation is ongoing.
With the final vote from the house of representatives now complete, the resolution moves on to the senate for legislative approval. Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Davis, has agreed to sponsor the resolution on the house floor.
If the resolution passes in the senate, Stericycle must still obtain permission from multiple divisions within the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, and from the governor’s office. The Rowley relocation would also require a conditional use permit issued by Tooele County. The entire process could take as long as a year, Sagers said.