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Wolf nominates McDonnell to serve permanently as DEP secretary

Agency veteran was named interim head in May

Acting Secretary of Environmental Protection Patrick McDonnell has been nominated by Gov. Tom Wolf to serve permanently in that role, pending approval by the state Senate. - (Photo / Submitted)

Gov. Tom Wolf today nominated acting Secretary of Environmental Protection Patrick McDonnell to serve permanently in that role, pending approval by the state Senate.

“In his acting capacity and throughout his career, Patrick has been a dedicated steward of the environment and a leader in advancing Pennsylvania’s energy development in a responsible way,” Wolf said.

McDonnell was named acting secretary in May after John Quigley stepped down after less than two years on the job.

While administration officials did not give a reason for Quigley’s abrupt departure, media reports suggested it came following revelations of a controversial private email in which the former secretary expressed frustration over regulatory progress.

McDonnell had extensive experience with DEP prior to being named interim secretary, spending 13 years with the agency in a variety of roles.

As deputy secretary for administration, he managed DEP’s budget, human resources, information technology and oversaw the facilities management functions of the agency. He also previously served as policy director and as an assistant to the special deputy secretary. McDonnell began his career at DEP working in the State Energy Office on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and green building projects.

Prior to returning to DEP, McDonnell was executive policy manager for former Commissioner Pamela A. Witmer of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, focusing on electric, natural gas and water issues as well as cyber security and the impact of environmental regulation on energy markets.

“I trust Patrick to lead the Department of Environmental Protection in a way that protects our commonwealth’s land, water and air and ensures the department continues to make progress in the areas of innovation, responsible development and working with legislators, industry and advocates in a collaborative and productive way,” Wolf said.

Roger DuPuis
Roger DuPuis covers Cumberland County, health care, transportation, distribution, energy and environment. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at [email protected].

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