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Martineau: Not Backtracking on Environmental Protection

By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A leadership shakeup at the state Department of Environment and Conservation doesn’t indicate the agency is downgrading pollution enforcement efforts, Commissioner Robert Martineau said Monday.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville in a meeting of the Joint Government Operations Committee questioned Martineau about the recent staff shakeup that included the firing of the department’s top solid waste management and water pollution control officials. The director of state parks also announced his retirement.
“With the recent firings and forced retirements, I hope we’re not changing direction here and becoming friendly to the polluters of this state,” Turner said.
Martineau did not specifically address the staffing changes, but said Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration will continue to enforce federal and state pollution control standards.
“I will assure the committee that our decisions are not in any way to backtrack on environmental protection,” he said. “I think the governor’s committed to maintaining strong environmental protection, and doing so in a way that also fosters economic development.”

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