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Idaho Gets New Top EPA Official

Release Date: 2/22/2000
Contact Information: Jim Werntz

February 22, 2000 - - - - - - - - - - 00-011

Jim Werntz Takes Helm in Boise

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a new top official in Idaho. James H. Werntz, a 15 year veteran of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Seattle, Washington and Washington, D.C., has been named Idaho Operations Director by Chuck Clarke, EPA regional administrator in Seattle. Jim will replaces Lynn McKee, who has directed the Boise office since 1977. McKee has been picked to serve as the region’s senior EPA official for agriculture, bringing all of EPA’s wide range of work with the agricultural community together across four states(Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington).

According to EPA’s Clarke, the Werntz appointment brings a new perspective and energy to the challenges the Agency and state must face together.

“Jim brings a new set of skills and expertise to Idaho,” said Clarke. “We are expecting great things from him in terms of environmental problem-solving, coalition-building and rejuvenating partnerships with our many important stakeholders there. We’re very excited about having him lead EPA into Idaho’s new century.”

As the office director, Werntz will lead a staff of 23 in protecting human health and the environment in Idaho. He has been living in the Seattle area for the last 12 years, where his most recent EPA responsibilities included developing policies for integrating the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. Werntz has expertise in sustainable development, and worked extensively in Idaho and other northwest states to develop programs that address environmental problems in rural communities. He hails from Minneapolis, and has a degrees in Biology from Grinnell College and a Masters of Environmental Management from Duke University.

The EPA state offices are near the Idaho Division of Environmental Quality headquarters in the Orchard Business Park, just west of downtown Boise. EPA also has a field office in the city of Coeur d’Alene.
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