Tag Archives: Dennis McLerran

Regional EPA chief discusses top issues

Dennis McLerran, the new regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, held his first news conference today, saying he wanted to touch base with reporters during Earth Week.

Dennis McLerran, EPA regional administrator
EPA photo

This year is not only the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, he noted, but also the 40th anniversary of the EPA. McLerran said he was a freshman at the University of Washington in 1970, the year of the first Earth Day. (That’s the year that I graduated from Mercer Island High School. Like McLerran, I have been involved in environmental issues for much of the last 40 years.)

Coming to the EPA from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, McLerran said he has had to expand his horizons to take in all environmental issues. “Wall-to-wall briefings” has been “kind of like drinking from a fire hose,” he said today.

The regional administrator said he was taking many clues from his boss, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson — including focusing on her top seven priorities:

  • Taking Action on Climate Change
  • Improving Air Quality
  • Assuring the Safety of Chemicals
  • Cleaning Up Our Communities
  • Protecting America’s Waters
  • Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism and Working for Environmental Justice
  • Building Strong State and Tribal Partnerships

Additional notes from McLerran’s comments and responses to questions:

Dennis McLerran to head EPA’s Northwest region

It was not much of a surprise yesterday, when Dennis McLerran was named the regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency. That was the call I made last July in Water Ways.

<em> Dennis McLerran</em>
Dennis McLerran

I’m not sure why it took so long, but I understand there was considerable discussion about the position within the Northwest congressional delegation. McLerran, executive director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, appeared to be the choice of both Washington senators. Still, it was not as long as President Clinton took to name Chuck Clark to the post, as I reported in that July blog post.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson made this statement in a news release:

“I look forward to working closely with Dennis on the range of urgent environmental issues we face, in region 10 and across the nation. At this moment of great challenge and even greater opportunity, I’m thrilled that Dennis will be part of our leadership team at EPA. He will certainly play an instrumental role in our Agency’s mission to protect our health and the environment.”

Here’s McLarren’s bio from Seattle’s Green Ribbon Commission, of which he is (was?) a member:

Dennis McLerran is the Executive Director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, the regional air quality agency for King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

Mr. McLerran is an attorney and former Chair of the Land Use and Environmental Law Section of the Washington State Bar Association. He has also served as the Director of the City of Seattle’s environmental and permitting agency, as the City Attorney for the City of Port Townsend and has been engaged in the practice of environmental and land use law in both the public and private sectors.

He joined the air quality agency in June 1994. In May 1998, the Municipal League of King County named him Public Employee of the Year. He has been President of the Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials, the national association of local air agencies in the US.

He has led the Agency in developing a number of national award winning programs, resulting in EPA Clean Air Act Advisory Committee awards in two of the last five years. These innovative programs include Diesel Solutions, a broad-based voluntary diesel retrofit and clean fuels program; the Puget Sound voluntary summer clean gasoline program; and the Washington State Clean School Bus program, making $5 million per year available to clean up 9,000 school buses.