By Lou Anne Wolfe Journal Record Staff Reporter A bill to
create an Oklahoma Environmental Professionals Registration Act
will probably die quietly next session in the Energy, Environment
and Natural Resources Committee of the Oklahoma House of
Representatives because of unofficial committee action on Thursday.
At the second meeting of an interim study on House Bill 1305,
principally authored by Rep. Mark Seikel, D-Harrah, and Sen. Dave
Herbert, D-Midwest City, members voted 13-3 that they would favor
"reporting progress" on the bill during the 1992 legislative
"Report progress" means the bill would be held in committee and
no action would be taken next session. All pending measures not
acted on next year will die, because next session is the second and
final session of the 43rd Legislature.
Lawmakers are forbidden to act on legislation when the
Legislature is not in session, so the vote is unofficial and
non-binding. However, committee Chairman Larry Rice, D-Pryor, said
he wanted to get an idea whether there was any support for the bill.
The measure considered Thursday by the committee was a draft
substitute for the original bill. Where the first bill called for
creation of a State Board of Registration for Environmental
Professionals to be appointed by the governor, the revised bill
called for board members to be appointed by the Oklahoma State
Department of Health, which also would write the rules and
regulations governing the licensing of environmental professionals.
Proponents of House Bill 1305 say licensing is needed because
the field of environmental consulting is loosely regulated and
plays host to some dishonest, unqualified people.
Opponents argue that the bill's provisions to qualify an
environmental professional for certification and licensing are too
broad, and that existing professional requirements for engineers,
industrial hygienists, environmental sanitarians and the like are
Environmental consulting may have drawn increased attention and
interest lately because of requirements for environmental risk
assessments in real estate transactions.
"It's a wide field, with an enormous amount of money involved
and a lot of charlatans," said W.J. Truby, an environmental
consultant of 15 years, lobbyist for the National Registry of
Environmental Professionals and proponent of House Bill 1305.
"Anyone in this state that wants to become an environmental
professional only has to hang up a shingle _ they don't even have
to know how to spell it," he said.
Seikel said he hoped to learn whether committee members think
they need to address the issue of people in the state soliciting
for services that they are unqualified to perform. …