The EPA earlier this month recognized Bill Sinclair, retiring deputy director of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality for his outstanding leadership in environmental protection that spans three decades.

Carol Rushin, acting regional administrator for EPA Region 8, presented Sinclair with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication and environmental achievements in helping to improve Utah's air, land and water.

Sinclair served as acting executive director of DEQ for eight months in May 2009. Since 2003, he has worked as the deputy director where he has worked with local health departments and EPA on implementing state and federal environmental laws and rules.

Sinclair served in the Air Force for seven years before beginning work in 1980 at the Utah Department of Health in the Bureau of General Sanitation, transferring to the Bureau of Solid and Hazardous Waste before DEQ became an agency in 1991. In 1993, he was appointed director of the Division of Radiation Control.

During his tenure as radiation control director, he helped persuade the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to do an environmental impact statement that ultimately led to the removal of the uranium mill tailings from the banks of the Colorado River to a permanent disposal site near the town of Crescent Junction.

Sinclair is set to retire Dec. 11.

— Amy Joi O'Donoghue