OBI Members Meet with New DEQ Administrators
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently hired two new administrators who will play important roles in decisions that will affect the ability of Oregon businesses to remain competitive.
Justin Green, Water Quality Division Administrator, and Ali Mirzakhalili, Air Quality Division Administrator, joined DEQ in April. The filling of these two key positions offers an opportunity for businesses to build constructive relationships at a time when the agency is considering policy decisions that will significantly affect businesses.
Oregon Business & Industry (OBI) already has reached out to the new administrators. OBI Vice President, Legislative Affairs Abbie Laugtug and a group of OBI members met with Green on May 15 and with Mirzakhalili on May 31. The meetings allowed OBI to discuss issues such as permitting backlogs, staff turnover and education and improving stakeholder and industry communication and engagement. The administrators not only will be a part of policy discussions, but also will influence permitting operations and other department programs that intersect with regulated businesses.
Green and Mirzakhalili bring years of related experience to their jobs. Most recently, Green was director of the Division of Water Resource Management for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Mirzakhalili was director of the Air Quality Division for the state of Delaware.
OBI looks forward to working with each of the new administrators. Moving forward, they agreed to regular meetings with the OBI policy committees on air and water to discuss issues and ensure better collaboration.