Transition to NDDEQ

The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) Environmental Health Section is getting closer to becoming the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (NDDEQ), but we will have to wait a few more months before we can officially call ourselves NDDEQ. During the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 2327 establishing a new North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality. Senate Bill 2327 allows just over two years (July 1, 2019) for the North Dakota Department of Health’s Environmental Health Section to transition to the NDDEQ.

As of December 31, 2018, most programs have completed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) review and approval process, and primacy should be transferred in the next months. When existing programs have had primacy transferred from the NDDoH to the NDDEQ and all rules have been signed by EPA, then we officially become NDDEQ. A press release will be issued when all signatures have been obtained and a notice will be placed on this page of the department website.

Notice of intent to adopt administrative rules relating to the establishment of the Department of Environmental Quality

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has signed legislation separating the Environmental Health Section from the North Dakota Department of Health to create a standalone Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), to be completed by July 2019. The DEQ will administer and enforce the same environmental protection programs as the existing Environmental Health Section, which has been headed since 2002 by David Glatt.

The establishment of a DEQ streamlines government and acknowledges the importance of environmental protection in North Dakota by elevating that responsibility to a cabinet-level agency whose Director is appointed by and reports directly to the Governor. The section currently has about 174 positions, including engineers, scientists, chemists, microbiologists and administrative support staff.

The DEQ will be overseen by a new 13-member Environmental Review Advisory Board, created through the consolidation of the existing Air Quality Advisory Board and Water Pollution Control Advisory Board. The new board will consist of the state engineer, state geologist, Director of the state Game and Fish Department, and 10 members appointed by the Governor. The board also reserves three spots for representatives of crop agriculture, the livestock industry, and agronomy/soil sciences.

Our Water - Keeping it Clean article discussing the transition (pdf)