Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics & Public Service

Project Prologue

Enlibra Principles Implemented at the DEQ

Enlibra is a neologism (from the Latin word for balance) created by the Western Governors’ Association to describe their approach to environmental stewardship.  The core principles of Enlibra are as follows:

    • National Standards, Neighborhood Solutions – Assign Responsibilities at the Right Level
    • Collaboration, Not Polarization – Use Collaborative Processes to Break Down Barriers and Find Solutions
    • Reward Results, Not Programs – Move to a Performance-Based System
    • Science for Facts, Process for Priorities – Separate Subjective Choices from Objective Data Gathering
    • Markets Before Mandates – Pursue Economic Incentives Whenever Appropriate
    • Change A Heart, Change A Nation – Environmental Understanding is Crucial
    • Recognition of Benefits and Costs – Make Sure All Decisions Affecting Infrastructure, Development and Environment are Fully Informed
    • Solutions Transcend Political Boundaries – Use Appropriate Geographic Boundaries for Environmental Problems

Dianne Nielson, former Executive Director of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), recalls, “The Enlibra principles were a natural fit for the work being done at DEQ. Working with all the stakeholders to find solutions and identifying issues early in the process were essential in resolving environmental problems. The Enlibra principles were part of every employee’s performance plan at DEQ.  The Leavitt Administration also removed a level of staff in the Governor’s Office, so there was direct, day-to-day work and communication between the Governor and his department directors.  That direct discussion of issues reinforced the Enlibra principles in policy and decision-making.” In addition, former Director of the DEQ Division of Air Quality, Ursula Kramer, said, “When I talk to people and tell them I used to work in Utah, many people say they know Governor Leavitt or they used to work with him. One of the points of agreement is that he was always a thoughtful listener. That is a comment that comes up time and time again. When I talk to people at the EPA and others who have worked with him, it seems clear that the Enlibra principles are the written version of what you actually find when you do business with Governor Leavitt and, when you talked with him, he sincerely paid attention to you; he always had time to deal with the individual. He cared about your opinions and he wanted to listen.

I was also impressed with how much he knew already about many topics. Sometimes, at the beginning of briefings, if you asked him what he already knew about the subject, he would be able to tell you most of the points you had planned to cover. He was very smart and very easy to work with.” In addition to being easy to work with, Governor Leavitt always accepted the facts and did not require scientists reach conclusions that fit policy agenda. Rather, Governor Leavitt always insisted that data, scientifically-acquired, drive policy.  Enlibra took place at the local, state, and federal levels. Leaders would bring in stakeholders early to build the trust that allows implementation, because they knew leaving stakeholders out would create roadblocks for later implementation. This principle of Enlibra made creating public policy efficient, effective, and ultimately, more popular with constituents.

Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service