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Deputy director is named new leader of Missouri DNR

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The deputy director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is moving up to the lead role with the state agency.

Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, announced Wednesday that Dru Buntin is the new director. He has served as acting director since Carol Comer’s death from cancer in June.

Buntin is a Moberly native who has served as deputy director for more than four years. He has been with the DNR for 15 years.

The DNR oversees air and water pollution regulations and runs the state’s historical preservation office and Missouri State Parks. Buntin was an official in the department from 2000 to 2013, rising to the roles of Deputy Director for Policy and Chief of Water Resources. He then directed Upper Missouri River Basin Association until 2017, when then-Gov. Eric Greitens brought him back to DNR.

He has led the department’s “Red Tape Reduction” push to review rules and regulations that may be burdensome to the public. Some of his priorities, he said Wednesday, are better flood protection and improving state parks with projects being funded by revenue bonds approved this year.

“We are confident in Drew’s ability and know he will be a great leader,” Parson said at a news conference.

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