SALT LAKE CITY — A bill sparked by a KSL investigation into Utah’s non-existent radon gas laws will not make it through the legislature.
The bill’s sponsor, Senator John L. Valentine, R-Orem, said the Radon Gas Provisions bill request hasn’t even been drafted. It’s apparently stuck in line at the drafting office with hundreds of other unprocessed bill requests.
“We made budget cuts over the last number of years just like all the agencies did, so we’re seeing a very slow process in getting bills through our offices,” he said. “It’s very much jammed in the system.”
Now, instead of a law to help protect Utahns from exposure to radon gas, Valentine has crafted a concurrent resolution asking for voluntary compliance.
“I don’t like to do laws just to mandate laws just for the sake of mandating. I do like to have people do voluntary things that are in their best interest,” Valentine said. “I think that’s where we start with the concurrent resolution.”
Garbage in, gospel out
As an environmental engineer in the radiation engineering consulting industry during the mid-1990’s, I was directed to use similar conservative assumptions to complete risk assessment reports. These final reports were forwarded to the EPA, then to the public. Some of us remember a term invented by computer nerds like myself back in the 1980’s: “garbage in, garbage out.” This means that when inputs to the computer were unreliable, the output should be considered to be unreliable as well. As scientists, we often joked that the term should be “garbage in, gospel out.” It’s easy to arrive at a more dramatic bottom line via computer when you feed in more “conservative” assumptions.
Being conservative is what environmental professionals are expected to do. The reasoning is that it’s better to be conservative — even perhaps extremely conservative — than to have your work called into question for perhaps understating the risk.