Governor Justice recently appointed longtime Division of Environmental Protection official Harold Ward to be Secretary of the agency. Ward had been serving as the DEP’s deputy secretary of Operations and director of the Division of Mining and Reclamation, where he oversaw all operational components of the WVDEP, as well as the agency’s mining regulatory program.
Ward brings a wealth of state government experience to the job. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in biology from WVU, Ward took on one increasingly responsible position after another beginning with the Division of Natural Resources, followed by the Division of Energy as a Surface Mine Reclamation Specialist.
Ward replaces Austin Caperton, whose prior experience as a coal executive created some skepticism in the environmental community. Ward has been well-received so far among that community. Angie Rosser, Executive Director of West Virginia Rivers Coalition, said “I’m encouraged that we have a secretary who brings this kind of experience and knowledge and hope that he will apply that to finding new solutions to these big problems, because doing things the same way we’ve always done them is not going to produce different results.”