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Politics & Government

DCNR Chief's Resignation 'Asked For and Received'

Another member of the Corbett administration is out: Richard Allan, head of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, has resigned.

The news came in a press release from the governor's office, which said the resignation was "asked for" and would be effective immediately.

No reason was given for Allan's departure.

"It's a personnel matter so I can't discuss it, other than to say that it has nothing to do with any differences of public policy," said Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley.

Allan's roots are in Luzerne County, where he founded a land trust and a nonprofit to promote geocaching, a kind of outdoor game of hide and seek.

He "grew up" in the scrap recycling industry, as he phrased it in remarks to the state Senate in 2011.

DCNR promotes conservation and manages the commonwealth's parks and forests. Ellen Ferretti, Deputy Secretary for Parks and Foresty, will serve as acting chief. Harley called her an "an experienced person" who "will be able to step in as acting secretary very smoothly."

That leaves both of Pennsylvania's environmental agencies under the control of temporary substitutes. The state's Department of Environmental Protection has been headed by one of the governor's top aides since mid-April.

Harley said any concerns that the administration are short-handed on environmental matters is "unwarranted."

"Certainly the acting secretary of DEP is well-qualified, is familiar with the issues, and you've got permanent career people at DEP and DCNR," Harley said.

DEP is being headed by one of Corbett's top aides, Chris Abruzzo. Prior to joining the Corbett administration, Abruzzo served in the state Attorney General's office.

Corbett's cabinet has seen major turnover in recent months. Along with the DEP and DCNR secretaries, the heads of departments of Education, Public Welfare, and Health have also stepped aside.