Rice Named Acting Director of DEQ

LINCOLN (AP) - A longtime administrator for the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality has been chosen as the agency's new acting director. Gov. Dave Heineman announced Friday that he has named assistant director Pat Rice for the job, effective Dec. 20. The 61-year-old Rice will replace Mike Linder, who is leaving to take a job with an Omaha law firm.  Rice has served as the department's assistant director for 19 years. He previously worked for the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality is assigned to protect the state's natural resources.  Rice earned a bachelor's degree in civil and environmental engineering from South Dakota State University. In his new position, Rice will oversee a department with more than 200 employees. His annual salary will be $120,000.