State Sen. Curt Bramble has formally apologized to anti-nuclear waste activists for an off-the-cuff remark he said he made in jest.
In a letter to Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah, the Provo Republican issued an apology for remarks he made at a March 5 gathering of Envirocare of Utah employees, where he said the group's acronym, HEAL, stands for "Help Educate Anal Liberals."
"Many of you have expressed concern about my recent public comments regarding your organization," Bramble wrote in a letter dated Monday. "I apologize."
Bramble is the co-chairman of the Hazardous Waste Regulation and Tax Policy Task Force that is considering all waste issues in the state, including the taxation of companies that accept waste.
Among the most contentious issues is whether or not Envirocare should be allowed to accept hotter radioactive wastes than their current state and federal licenses allow.
The task force is supposed to make recommendations to the 2005 Legislature.
Bramble's presence at the meeting and his comments angered HEAL activists who expressed concern over whether he could remain neutral on the issue. They called for his resignation. But Senate President Al Mansell, R-Sandy, wrote to the group that Bramble would instead apologize.
HEAL activists aren't sure what to make of the apology.
"Time will tell how sincere Senator Bramble really is," said Jason Groenewold, director of HEAL. "It does nothing to resolve his bias toward Envirocare."
Bramble said last week that his comment was taken out of context and "not meant to offend anyone."
In the apology, he said, "Those of you who have scrutinized the issue know the context in which my remarks were given, and that no harm was intended.
"We will all continue our painstaking work to understand and find solutions to complicated hazardous waste problems in Utah," he continued. "We may even continue to disagree on certain details. However, the committee processes will be fair and I will honor my responsibility to act impartially as chair of the Hazardous Waste Task Force."