- Associated Press - Thursday, June 5, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A new task force is working to make decisions about environmental problems and projects that consider challenges faced by the City of Springfield, Greene County and City Utilities of Springfield.

The Environmental Priorities Task Force held its first work session on Tuesday, focusing on the area’s water resources, considering such issues how to ensure safe drinking water and providing tourism opportunities, with a limited amount of money to spend.

The presentations at Tuesday’s meetings were “based on sound science,” but other factors have to be considered, said Errin Kemper, Springfield’s assistant director of environmental services, The Springfield News-Leader reported (https://sgfnow.co/1mealQY ).

“Science cannot tell us what’s important to our community,” he said.

The task force includes city, Greene County and City Utilities staffers, as well as representatives from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, James River Basin Partnership and the Environmental Protection Agency. Other members will be from about a dozen area businesses.

The group’s priorities include developing an environmental vision statement for the community and specific goals for each environmental resource. Members also will develop policy statements, define community environmental priorities, and form a method for allocating “scarce resources.”

The task force has four more meetings scheduled through mid-July and members have been told that some version of the group will likely be needed beyond 2014.

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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, https://www.news-leader.com

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