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About Us

Our Mission

To protect human health and the quality of Idaho’s air, land, and water.

Our Vision

An Idaho where the quality of our environment enhances healthy living and supports thriving communities.


The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) was created by the Idaho Environmental Protection and Health Act (Idaho Code §39-1).

DEQ implements state environmental programs pursuant to state laws and rules. In general, Idaho’s environmental programs meet the requirements of the major federal environmental protection laws, including the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and a portion of the Clean Water Act. DEQ is authorized to administer state programs in lieu of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administering these federal acts.

To implement these programs, DEQ engages in a broad range of activities:

  • Assessing environmental problems
  • Overseeing compliance by facilities that generate air, water, and hazardous waste pollution
  • Monitoring Idaho’s air and water quality
  • Overseeing cleanup of contaminated sites
  • Responding to hazardous materials and emergency response calls
  • Issuing permits and authorizations for new and expanding businesses and manufacturing facilities
  • Administering grant and low-interest loan programs to fund wastewater and drinking water facilities

DEQ does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factors in its program or activities.

Meet Our Director

Director Jess Byrne was appointed by Governor Brad Little in August 2020. He is responsible for leading the state’s efforts to protect the quality of Idaho’s air, land, and water. He also represents DEQ and the state on various boards, commissions, and councils. Director Byrne earned his bachelor of science in environmental health from Boise State University (BSU) in 1999. He received his master of public administration from BSU in 2004.

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