OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Secretary of the Environment Miles Tolbert is leaving his post in the governor's cabinet to take a position in the private sector.

Gov. Brad Henry announced the move Tuesday.

Tolbert is an attorney and plans to take over as head of the Crowe and Dunlevy law firm's environmental practice group in September.

Henry praised Tolbert for fighting to protect the environment and the interests of Oklahomans, including the role he played in developing a relocation plan for families in the Tar Creek Superfund site.

“It has been a tremendous honor for me to serve on the front lines of Governor Henry’s efforts to bring much needed relief to the long-suffering residents of Picher and Cardin,” Tolbert said when contacted Tuesday. “Had Governor Henry not taken the bold step of initiating the buyout of families with young children, I'm not sure where we would be today. The highlight of my six-year tenure in the Henry Administration is seeing the buyout of Tar Creek residents well under way.”

Tolbert said the buyout now needs to be completed as quickly as possible so that final cleanup can begin.

Henry named Tolbert to the top environmental post in December 2002. Henry says he expects to name a successor in the weeks to come.