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DEQ not protecting Utah

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It has become apparent that one of the most egregious cases of ground water pollution in the west due to mining activities remains unresolved. The ground water on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley has been polluted by a variety of mining related point sources on the near side of the Oquirrh Mountains, sources dominated by the operations of Kennecott Utah Copper Corporation.

I was one of those making comments in the case of the attempted consent decree between KUCC and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality in 1991. At the public hearing terminating that process, I asked KUCC representatives if the acid ground water was going to be allowed to continue to move in the aquifer to the east without remedy. The astounding answer, in the presence of DEQ representatives, was yes.

Now this case, and others involving long known ground water pollution in the area, is rearing its head and DEQ asks the public to formulate informed comments on a scientifically complex situation with approximately one week's notice.

It appears that DEQ is avoiding what should be its primary mission: protecting Utah's environment.

Lewis Downey

Salt Lake City