Local resident approved as new Ga DNR chief

Fri, 12/12/2008 - 2:02pm
By: The Citizen

The Board of Natural Resources this week approved the recommendation of Governor Sonny Perdue to name Fayette County resident Chris Clark as the next Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Clark currently serves as the Executive Director of the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA). He will succeed Noel Holcomb as DNR Commissioner when Holcomb retires in April 2009.

“We are pleased to approve Chris Clark as this agency’s new commissioner and we look forward to working with him,” said Board of Natural Resources Chairman Phyllis Johnson. “DNR’s charge to protect and conserve Georgia’s natural and cultural resources is a huge responsibility, and we know that Chris will follow in the footsteps of his predecessors as an advocate for our professional staff and the exceptional service that they provide.”

As DNR Commissioner, Clark will oversee an agency comprised of nearly 3,000 employees that is responsible for the management and conservation of Georgia’s wildlife, the protection and conservation of coastal marshlands, the preservation of historic resources, and the implementation of environmentally sound business practices for industry.

DNR operates over one million acres of public lands to protect wildlife diversity and to provide outdoor recreational opportunities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping. In addition, DNR enforces the laws that regulate the protection and use of Georgia’s natural resources, including hunting, fishing and boating.

“From the mountains of north Georgia to the unspoiled beaches of the coast, Georgia is fortunate to have an amazing diversity of natural resources as well as a rich cultural history,” said Chris Clark. “I look forward expanding our commitment to environmental stewardship by working with our stakeholders, the business community and the DNR staff to ensure that these resources are conserved for both today and future generations.”

Governor Perdue named Clark as his recommendation on November 5. Under the Georgia Constitution, the DNR Board appoints both the Commissioner and the Director of the Environmental Protection Division.

As executive director of GEFA, Clark has led a number of important initiatives since being appointed to that position in 2007. GEFA serves as the state environmental bank by providing financing for water and sewer infrastructure projects and is home to the State Energy Office.

During his tenure, he served on the State Water Council and helped launch a new Water Supply Division at GEFA to assist communities with reservoir development. Clark also led the creation of the Governor’s Energy Challenge, which seeks to reduce energy use by state government by 15 percent, as well as the Conserve Georgia initiative, which is the state’s conservation clearinghouse (www.conservegeorgia.org). He also launched Georgia's Energy Innovation Center that works to bring alternative energy projects to the state.

Prior to his appointment at GEFA, Clark served for four years as Deputy Commissioner at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Among his highlights at GDEcD was the recruitment of a new Kia Motors manufacturing plant to West Point, Georgia.

Clark is a native of Fitzgerald, earning a bachelor's degree from

Georgia Southern University, and a master's degree in public administration from Georgia College and State University. Clark resides in Fayette County with his wife Tiffany and son Christian.

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