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UTAH, COLORADO 1ST STATES TO SIGN PACTS WITH EPA

Utah and Colorado are the first states to sign an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reinvent environmental regulation.

EPA Administrator Carol Browner and Region VIII chief Jack McGraw signed "performance partnership grants" with both states Thursday in Denver. Dianne Nielson, director of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, represented the state. The grant will pay Utah $1.37 million for the last quarter of the current fiscal year. The grant would have been $4.3 million had the federal government not shut during the current fiscal year."The flexibility provided by the new grant means we can do a better job of funding Utah's highest priority environmental issues," Nielson said in a press release.

The grant replaces up to 13 separate agreements the state used to negotiate each year or two. It allows the state direct or shift funds to suit their own needs without having to appeal to the EPA.