By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio
Jefferson City, Mo. – Mark Templeton is stepping down Wednesday as head of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and taking a new job that's tied to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Templeton survived a rocky tenure as DNR Director. He was suspended without pay for two weeks last year following the controversy surrounding the delayed release of E. coli test results from the Lake of the Ozarks.
Scott Holste, Governor Nixon's Press Secretary, defends Templeton's tenure.
"When you look at things like our state parks and historic sites, when you look at things like energy, when you look at (the) safety of our wastewater treatment systems, we believe that all these things have changed for the better (under Templeton)," Holste said.
In his new job, Templeton will oversee a $20 billion trust fund set up by BP. The money is to go to people who've been financially harmed by the gulf oil spill.
Governor Jay Nixon has appointed Kip Stetzler as acting Director of DNR. Stetzler served as Assistant Attorney General from 2000 to 2008, when Nixon was Missouri's Attorney General.