By Kimberly Mazza
CHEYENNE – This year marks an important era for the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The agency was established on July 1, 1973 and will be celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2023.
In 1973, the DEQ was created through the Environmental Quality Act. The purpose of the Act was to protect and enhance air, land, and water resources.
The first acting director for the DEQ, Robert E. Sundin, stated that in response to citizen concern for the environment, Wyoming’s executive branch of government prepared and sponsored legislation to create the DEQ during the 1973 session.
“From its establishment, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has represented a state that recognizes the need to produce its natural resources while protecting her exceptional water, air and pristine lands,” stated Governor Gordon. “I congratulate DEQ for their hard work, their successes, and their accomplishments over the past 50 years. More than ever, we have a duty to provide the resources our nation needs while protecting our unique environment for future generations. I thank DEQ for embracing this mission and wish them many more successes in the next 50 years. They have truly ridden for the brand.”
Todd Parfitt, who has been with the DEQ for 29 years and has been the Director for the last ten years, considers it an honor to lead the agency and serve the state during this extraordinary time.
“Throughout these 50 years the DEQ has experienced and overcome many challenges while remaining true its original mission. As we celebrate this milestone, I would like to express my appreciation for the outstanding staff, past and present. We also appreciate and celebrate all that have brought us to this point,” stated Parfitt.
The DEQ will be sharing those significant people, events and accomplishments that have made the agency what it is today. Its history and milestones will be featured on the DEQ’s 50th Anniversary Story Map throughout the year. The Story Map can be viewed on the agency’s website at www.deq.wyoming.gov. The public is asked to periodically visit the website to see updates to the story as well as upcoming events to recognize the 50-year anniversary.
Parfitt invites Wyoming citizens to join DEQ in celebrating and recognizing the accomplishments these 50 years have seen.