Burgum highlights work of newly established Dept. of Environmental Quality
Gov. Doug Burgum on Friday highlighted the newly established Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the important work it does to protect the state’s air, land and water resources, as the department held a public open house after officially becoming an independent state agency on April 29.
“We created the Department of Environmental Quality to streamline government and acknowledge the importance of environmental protection in North Dakota by elevating that responsibility to a cabinet-level agency,” Burgum said. "It also gives our environmental team the autonomy they need to be more efficient, flexible and better able to implement federal regulations.”
The 2017 Legislature approved, and Burgum signed, Senate Bill 2327, which separated the Environmental Health Section from the state Department of Health to create the standalone DEQ. The bill gave the Health Department until July 1, 2019, to obtain the approvals and amend agreements necessary to ensure the state maintained strong primacy over all federal and state environmental regulations. The DEQ became an independent agency on April 29 after all programs completed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s review and approval process.
Dave Glatt, who had been chief of the Environmental Health Section since 2002, was appointed DEQ director and will serve on the Governor’s cabinet.
“We’re going to continue to do what we’ve done in the past – common-sense environmental protections for the citizens of this state, using science and the law and great professionals to make sure this happens moving forward,” Glatt said.
The DEQ has about 160 full-time team members in five divisions: Air Quality, Chemistry, Municipal Facilities, Waste Management and Water Quality.
Burgum kicks off Drone Focus Conference in Fargo
Gov. Burgum delivered welcoming remarks Wednesday at the Drone Focus Conference 2019 in Fargo, highlighting North Dakota’s leadership in the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) field, including a recently approved $28 million investment in a statewide UAS network.
The statewide UAS network will support drone flights beyond visual line of sight, helping to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System. Burgum proposed funding the network in his executive budget recommendation in December, and the Legislature approved it in April. Lawmakers also appropriated $2 million to the Northern Plains UAS Test Site and $3 million to upgrade infrastructure at the Grand Sky UAS flight center.
The $33 million commitment brings North Dakota’s total investment to approximately $77 million to advance UAS research and development in the state. North Dakota was one of 10 test sites selected last year for the Federal Aviation Administration’s UAS Integration Pilot Program, with the North Dakota Department of Transportation leading the effort.
Sanford thanks ND Firefighter's Association members at annual convention
Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford welcomed attendees at the 135th annual North Dakota Firefighter's Association Convention in Watford City this week.
Sanford recognized the service of convention attendees, drawing special attention to the volunteer first responders who enable rural fire services and support full-time firefighters in larger metro areas.
"How you respond to these situations – with professionalism and care when your friends and neighbors need it most – is a true testament to your profession and a source of pride for your communities," Sanford said.
During the 2019 legislative session, Gov. Burgum signed a bill providing a $120 million line of credit for the Statewide Interoperability Radio Network, which will provide critical improvements to emergency communications systems.
The NDFA was organized June 4, 1884, and incorporated Feb. 3, 1891. Its mission is to promote the safety and welfare of the North Dakota Firefighter’s Association members through uniform and established training standards.
Team ND joins governor in Walk@Work event
Members of Team ND took part in the annual "Walk@Work" event Thursday in Bismarck and other locations around the state. The Walk@Work event is part of the Governor’s Wellness Initiative, which was launched in March 2018 in partnership with the North Dakota Public Employees Retirement System and Sanford Health Plan.
The Governor's Wellness Initiative is designed to increase implementation of health and wellness services and to promote general well-being. Adding more physical activity to one's daily work routine has many benefits, including improved cognitive health. Walking can improve concentration, sharpen memory and enhance creativity.
Before departing on the walking route, Gov. Burgum encouraged all agencies and team members to take advantage of the great wellness opportunities offered in the workplace and online. Find out more about the program at the link below.
"Work Worth Doing" talks ND National Guard, Dept. of Emergency Services
Major General Alan Dohrmann, the Adjutant General of North Dakota, is the featured guest on the newest episode of Work Worth Doing to discuss the two agencies he oversees, the North Dakota National Guard and Department of Emergency Services.
In addition to the agency overview, this episode offers a variety of leadership lessons gained throughout decades of experience commanding thousands of men and women in the North Dakota Air and Army National Guard.
Find this episode and an archive of all previous episodes at the link below.
Memorial Day observances held at ND Veterans Cemetery, Heritage Center
Gov. Burgum commemorated Memorial Day by attending and delivering remarks at ceremonies at the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck and the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery near Mandan.
“As we honor these fallen heroes, we also remember and support the Gold Star families who have endured losing their loved ones, the soldiers still serving at home and abroad, and the service men and women who have returned home and need our continued support," Burgum said. "We must never forget their sacrifices."
Monday's ceremony at the Veterans Cemetery paid special tribute to those who fought in the Vietnam War, as this year marks 50 years since the drawdown of U.S. forces from Vietnam began. More than 15,000 North Dakotans served in Vietnam, including 198 who never came home.