New years are always a time for transition and renewal, and boy, do we need some renewal after the last year! Now is a time to look forward with hope and commitment to seeing better days ahead.
We have worked hard this past year not only to keep the machine of government humming, but to move faster and farther down the road of progress than before. Some notable accomplishments include:
- Shortly after in-person office work was curtailed in March, we used electronic tools previously developed to move seamlessly into a new remote workplace.
- Electronic permitting and reporting have been in place for several years
allowing continued interaction with the regulated community with very few hiccups.
- Division field inspectors were able to extend their reach with remote work processes for
collecting data and recording information on our databases.
- Staff implemented new tools for prioritizing workloads, inspection frequency, and monitoring
conditions in areas of higher concern.
- Board of Oil, Gas and Mining hearings are being held remotely for both Board members and participants. Meetings have been held in a hybrid in-person/electronic format for several years, so the transition was relatively simple.
Many have questioned the need to return to a fully in-person workplace as we have seen
benefits of more efficient communication between managers and staff, employees working
within their own flexible schedules, and the improvements in air quality. At some point, we will likely return to a hybrid telework scenario with fewer employees onsite, but still deriving the benefits of remote work.
Recognizing that we are also faced with a transition of governmental administration in
Washington DC, the new year brings substantial uncertainty for the extent of new federal
policy and the impact of those changes on Utah’s economy and quality of life. The commitment
from Division staff to continue meeting our responsibilities is unwavering. We will continue to ensure
responsible development of our underground energy and mineral resources while protecting
the public health, safety and welfare and preserving the environment. We like to think that our
efforts will continue regardless of who is in White House, and our processes for continuous
improvement will forge ahead.