GOVERNMENT

Joel Ferry confirmed to be director of Department of Natural Resources

Sep 21, 2022, 8:30 PM
Rep Ferry...
FILE: Rep. Joel Ferry, R-Brigham City, presents SB31, Water Rights Proofs on Small Amounts of Water, in the House chamber during the 2022 session of the Utah Legislature at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Joel Ferry was unanimously confirmed as the new director of Utah’s Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday by the Utah Senate. 

Ferry, however, is still facing a lawsuit from Utah Democrats, who say he served in two branches of the government at the same time. While still serving in the House of Representatives, Ferry was appointed as acting director of the Department of Natural Resources.

Democrats say that is a violation of separation of powers. It’s a case Utah Democrats are taking to the Utah Supreme Court.

Ferry denies any wrongdoing.

“Ultimately, you know it was a short term,” he said. “I had always signaled that I was going to step away. I didn’t take on legislative responsibilities or salaries or anything else. And that it was a temporary situation.”

Recently, a federal judge refused to take Ferry’s name off the ballot in Box Elder County, which led the democrats to take their case to the Utah Supreme Court.

Ferry has said that if elected, he won’t serve. However, he says his name on the ballot provides voters with a choice.

“The governor addressed this just the other day,” Ferry said. “Talking about how ‘listen, we want to give the people of Box Elder County a choice and a voice.”

Serving in the Department of Natural Resources

He says he feels good about his confirmation. 

“I love serving as the director of the Department of Natural Resources,” Ferry said. “And I think that I can be of a bigger benefit and a greater asset to the state, a better help to the state, serving in that role.”

Mark Jones contributed to this article.

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