Encouraging better pipeline construction is just one initiative for the man who will oversee North Dakota’s new environmental regulatory agency.

Dave Glatt, chief of the North Dakota Department of Health Environmental Health Section, said, becoming its own agency, the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality, will allow it to set its own priorities. And as the head of this transition, he brings a philosophy of openness and cooperation in service to the public interest.

Glatt said, years ago, environmental health and public health issues went hand in hand.

“The environmental movement has really exploded over the years; it’s really changed,” he said.

While operating under the umbrella of the state Health Department, Environmental Health often has found itself in competition with medical matters for funding. And, until the oil boom, Environmental Health often took lower priority, according to Glatt.

Glatt sees it as an opportunity to be more visible, and more accountable in some cases, to the public.