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The Environmental Protection Agency has leaders down to the state level. The region seven administrator covers Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa.
This year, leadership exchanged hands and David Geiger had the opportunity to talk to the new administrator, Mark Hague. He's not new to the region. Hague grew up in Missouri and was the deputy to the former administrator Karl Brooks.
David asked Hague what his goals are for the region and Iowa in particular.
"[I] Really want to build that relationship, continue some of the work that's been done, to build good rapport, communication, I'm the kind of person that likes to meet with people face to face, hear their issues, concerns and a chance to talk about what EPA's doing." Hague says, "My perception is, Iowa's been a real leader in the nutrient reduction effort and they've had a good aggressive nutrient reduction strategy. We've been supportive of that movement. Moving forward we want to be a partner with them and other federal agencies, academic institutions, state partners, and stakeholders."
The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a plan led by Iowa State University, the Iowa DNR and Iowa Department of Agriculture. Its goal is to reduce nutrients from point and non-point sources to Iowa waters and the Gulf of Mexico through voluntary measures.
Hague says he was encouraged about farmer practices at the Iowa State fair this year, "Saw a lot of producers and farmers being recognized for the practices they're putting in place and that's really good and encouraging to see that going on. I know the state's invested a lot of resources to making that nutrient reduction strategy be realized and I think there's a lot of value that can be gained there. You know when you hear about nutrients in Iowa you don't hear anyone arguing over the need to kind of make some changes and improve how we protect our water quality and it's really and it's really encouraging to see the work going on."
Hague has been serving as the region administrator since March.