Seven women representing two groups concerned with keeping Geneva Steel in business have met with the governor to complain about the tactics of a Utah County commissioner.
Leaders of Geneva Wives and the Coalition to Save Geneva and American Jobs said Wednesday they are tired of the divisions among Utah County residents over pollution generated by the steel plant.They are angry that Utah County Commissioner Brent Morris is thinking of forming his own committee to examine the problem. They said such a committee would be an insult to Gov. Norm Bangerter who already has a committee examining pollution all along the Wasatch Front.
"We're concerned about the heat being placed on Geneva Steel," said Gwen Miller, chairwoman of Geneva Wives. "There are others polluting. Geneva's working on being in compliance (with federal clean-air standards)."
The women said they are anxious to cooperate with all sides to make sure the air is as clean as possible. They don't appreciate recent harsh criticism from Morris.
Morris said Wednesday he does not have his own committee, although he has considered appointing one. "We haven't really even talked about the formation of it or who would be on it," he said.
Morris said he would include Geneva representatives if he does form a committee.
In a January meeting with the press, Morris said local leaders should join grass-roots efforts to make Geneva Steel clean up its act. He also suggested Geneva purchase additional pollution-control equipment and invest in modernization rather than make donations to community projects.
Bangerter responded diplomatically to the women's concerns, urging them to continue making their voices heard. He declined to comment on their accusations against Morris.
"Our objective is to have clean air and to have Geneva both," Bangerter said, adding he wants to remain objective and does not want to get involved with the emotions surrounding the issue. One woman told reporters her child was beaten up at school because of her support for Geneva.
"If I'm emotionally involved, I'm useless," Bangerter said.
Geneva has until 1991 to comply with new federal standards. Bangerter said the state is aggressively monitoring pollution along the Wasatch Front to see where it is coming from.
The governor's committee is scheduled to meet March 28.
"Our objective is that they (committee members) deal with this thing factually, not emotionally," Bangerter said. "They have to deal with it in the entire context of our society."