In light of the recent departure of former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, the organization will be led by Mr. Pruitt’s deputy, Scott Wheeler, at least for the next several months and perhaps past the midterm November elections. There is speculation by both supporters and critics of Wheeler that he will share the same enthusiasm as his predecessor for undoing several environmental regulations. This could mean big changes on both the national and state levels.

In early April, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Deputy Director, Dru Buntin, spoke to a group in Moberly. In this special presentation, covered by the Moberly Monitor, the director addressed recent changes to Missouri DNR regulations.

Buntin says that state agency reviews of their respective rules were directed by former Gov. Eric Greitens and resulted in 99 DNR rules being rescinded. These rescinded rules, in turn, led to a reduction of 1,656 regulations. The changes made were to those regulations that did not make sense anymore, due to advanced technology or simply a change in times.

Buntin also discussed some disparities between the state water quality standards and recently implemented federal regulations in regards to nutrient content in lakes. He said federal rules regarding soil and water protection are not as flexible as the state’s. “If there is any data to show elevated levels, [the federal rules] are going to default to show it is impaired. Where under the state rule, we are looking at it and if we get high results are going to put it into a screening level, collect more data and ask what can we do about it.”

Buntin also addressed the Missouri state park system and possible sales tax support, specific issues affecting Moberly and plans of the department moving forward to communicate more person-to-person with communities they serve.