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Mead keeps inside DEQ in choosing new director

Mead keeps inside DEQ in choosing new director

Nov 1, 2012 - The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- Gov. Matt Mead stuck close to home by choosing a veteran administrator at the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality to lead the agency.

Todd Parfitt was chosen to replace John Corra, who is retiring after nine years as director of the department that enforces state and federal environmental laws and regulations.

While former Gov. Dave Freudenthal looked to private industry and hired Corra, then an executive in the trona industry, Mead hired the agency's No. 2 administrator.

"I think he's really in a good place in terms of understanding the agency, and also understanding the current issues the agency's having to deal with," Mead said of Parfitt.

Parfitt, 51, has almost 20 years of experience with the department, including the past seven years in a dual role as deputy director and administrator of the agency's industrial siting division.

His priorities as director will include adopting new technologies to organize information about environmental permits and making sure the agency is run efficiently, he told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Wyoming can have responsible development without sacrificing the environment, Parfitt said.

"I think that's always going to be the challenge, how do you balance the two?" he said. "You want to work with the regulated community, you want to work with the local community and local governments in those processes."

New areas of development such as targeting deep shale in east-central Wyoming for oil are going to need attention, he said.

"It's something that we need to be proactive with and making sure we're talking with the counties and local governments in terms of impacts they're seeing, and making sure we're talking to the industry as we see issues that may be arising," he said. "'Hey, we've been through this before.'"

The department has been updating its computer systems, a process that includes setting up a geographic information system that will enable employees to look up on a map where the agency has issued permits in the state.

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