DNR commissioner removes top 2 forestry officials

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s natural resources commissioner has removed his top two forestry officials, saying he wants to see timber from state lands harvested more quickly to help the struggling forest products industry.

The Duluth News Tribune reported Tuesday that Forestry Division Director Dave Epperly will be transferred within the division, while Assistant Director Bob Tomlinson was transferred into the DNR’s Division of Lands and Minerals. Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr says Epperly will remain acting director until a replacement is found.

Landwehr wants to make more timber available with less paperwork and delay for the state’s timber industry, which has been hit hard by low demand and prices. He says he wanted some new leadership to get that going. He says the industry is more dependent on state forests than ever.