Skip to comments.Gov. Haslam's administration fires top TDEC officials
Posted on 02/04/2012 8:04:48 AM PST by SmithL
NASHVILLE Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's administration has fired two top officials at the Department of Environment and Conservation, while a third has announced his retirement.
The department said in a statement Friday that the changes are "designed to streamline our structure and build management efficiencies."
Changes are to include the creation of a single water resources division encompassing the department's pollution control, water supply and groundwater management programs, according to the statement.
The fired officials are Mike Apple, head of the department's solid waste management division, and Paul E. Davis, who was in charge of water pollution control. Meanwhile, Mike Carlton is retiring as director of Tennessee state parks.
The Tennessean newspaper first reported the TDEC shake-up on its website Friday afternoon. Apple told the paper he had been called in to the office of deputy commissioner Shari Meghreblian earlier this week, and that he was given no explanation for the firing other than that "they wanted to make a change."
The governor's office deferred questions about the changes back to the department.
John McFadden, executive director of the Tennessee Environmental Council, said he is taking a wait-and-see approach to how the department proceeds.
"My biggest concern would be that we continue to have these resources that this agency is responsible for protecting and conserving and taking care of," he said. "We know that we've got significant degradation that ties back into our quality of life, our communities and human health."
TDEC was a frequent target during the Republican gubernatorial nomination race in 2010, though Haslam was the least aggressive in his criticism of the agency. But complaints about environmental regulations have been a recurring theme as the governor has met with business groups around the state, and Haslam has promised changes to make the department more business-friendly.
(Excerpt) Read more at knoxnews.com ...
Changes are to include the creation of a single water resources division encompassing the department's pollution control, water supply and groundwater management programs...
Legislation has been filed in the TN General Assembly that would reconstitute the new water board, but it increases the number on the board to what I think is an unwieldy number (9 members, I believe). During the Bredesen administration the Oil & Gas Board was moved under water quality in TDEC and it has been a disaster. The oil and gas industry in the state backed Haslam, hoping he would move it back under geology, but that hasn’t happened. Ron Ramsey, TN tea party favorite, would have been a much more business-friendly governor.