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Missouri's Governor Matt Blunt held a press conference to discuss re-organization of the Department of Natural Resources, or DNR. KSMU's Missy Shelton recently caught up with DNR director Doyle Childers, a former state senator from Southwest Missouri to talk about the changes in the department. She files this report.
The director of the Department of Natural Resources, Doyle Childers says seven ombudsmen will work around the state to help businesses comply with environmental regulations.
He says since becoming director earlier this year, he's seen the need for change in the department.
Childers also says he wants the department to rely less on lawsuits to pressure businesses into compliance.
The office of Attorney General Jay Nixon has handled lawsuits for DNR for the past 13 years.
Nixon says he's not sure that the change will do much good.
Two of the ombudsmen are former lawmakers who served in the legislature with DNR director Doyle Childers.
Each of these ombudsmen will receive about 60-thousand dollars per year.
The Associated Press reports that the two positions were not advertised.
Childers says the ombudsmen will mean fewer lawsuits.
Lawsuits filed through the Attorney General's office are referred to the office by DNR.
Nixon says there's no proof that his office is harassing companies with lawsuits.
Nixon also says lawsuits are an effective way to get companies to comply with environmental regulations.
Even though he's looking at ways to reduce lawsuits, DNR Director Doyle Childers says he isn't planning to ignore serious violators.
Childers says even though the department will be hiring 7 ombudsmen, his department is still keeping costs low and has reduced its total number of employees in recent years.