Governor-elect Chet Culver announced that he is appointing 42-year-old Richard Leopold as the new Director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources — the agency that’s been at the center of much of the discussion over the regulation of livestock operations in the state.
Leopold is the executive director of the Iowa Environmental Council, a nonprofit coalition made up of 76 organizations and over 600 individual members that it says work to improve Iowa?s natural environment.
Leopold would replace current D-N-R director Jeff Vonk. Vonk was appointed by current Governor Tom Vilsack in 2001 to replace Paul Johnson who resigned from the job.
A spokesman for Culver says there were 25 people who applied for the DNR job and they cut that to a handful of finalists, but he could not say if Vonk was one of the people who applied.
Leopold has worked for the D-N-R in the past and from 1999-2002 served as the coordinator for IOWATER, Iowa?s statewide volunteer water-quality monitoring program.