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New Natural Resources Commissioner Well-Received by Environmental, Coal Interests

A seasoned mine reclamation official has been chosen to lead the state’s Department of Natural Resources. Energy and Environment Secretary Len Peters announced Steve Hohmann’s appointment today.Hohmann has been the director of the department’s Abandoned Mine Lands program since 1995. In his new job as Natural Resources Commissioner, he’ll oversee his old division, plus the divisions of forestry, mine reclamation, oil and gas and mine safety, among others.Hohmann replaces Carl Campbell, who was fired without cause in November. Tom FitzGerald of the Kentucky Resources Councilwas vocal about his dismay when Campbell was let go, but he says Hohmann is a good replacement.“I think he’s done an excellent job in the Abandoned Mine Land program,” FitzGerald said. “The question is going to be whether this administration will let him do his job. Because in doing that job, there will be times when he is going to be pushing the industry to better control the impact of their mining on the land and the people.”The appointment was also well-received by the coal industry.Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett says he’s had good experiences working with Hohmann, and would expect him to bring a balance similar to what Campbell brought to the position.“I would expect Mr. Hohmann to have a very similar open door policy with both the energy and environmental communities,” Bissett said. “He’s a very respected person who we have a working relationship with and would expect that to continue in this new role.”Hohmann’s appointment is effective Monday.

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