by Lisa Sorg
A top official at the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources announced he is leaving his post effective today.
Chuck Wakild, the director of the Division of Water Quality, told his staff, "I will be leaving my job as director effective today and will be retiring from state service at the end of August," according to an email obtained by INDY Week.
He thanked his staff and closed the email by writing, "Change brings opportunities and I encourage you to look for them as we all move ahead."
Wakild (WAY-killed) has been director of DWQ since 2012. He has held many leadership posts at the agency for the past 20 years. He reported directly to Assistant Secretary of the Environment Mitch Gillespie.
DENR spokesman Drew Elliot said his retirement had been planned for some time. "We're glad he stuck around for the first six months of the new administration" to help with the transition, Elliot said.
Wakild's departure comes at a pivotal time for DWQ. Senate Bill 76, known as the fracking bill, passed the House environment committee version last week. While it strips language from the Senate version that allowed for the injection of fracking waste underground, fracking has caused numerous water quality issues in other states where the controversial drilling practice is common.
If SB 76 becomes law, permitting could occur in North Carolina as early as March 2015.
Tom Reeder, director of Division of Water Resources, has been named acting director of DWQ by DENR Secretary John Skvarla. Reeder has been with the department for 15 years.
There are other changes at the top of DWQ: Deputy Director Ted Bush will become director of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service. Reporting to Ombudsman Joe Harwood, Bush will lead the Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach. sections. In addition to those responsibilities, he will be representing the secretary’s office on administrative and policy matters with Region IV of the Environmental Protection Agency and the EPA’s headquarters.