GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT NAMES PETER WALKE COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
(Editor’s note: this press release from the office of Gov. Phil Scott was received this morning and is printed verbatim. Walke has been the administration’s point person on the development of the Transportation & Climate Initiative, the regional carbon tax supported by the Vermont Climate Solutions Caucus but not – yet, anyway – by Gov. Phil Scott. Regarding TCI, Walke has often said it is his job to prepare the plan for Vermont involvement, and the final decision is up to the governor.)
Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today announced the appointment of Peter Walke to serve as commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Walke has served as the deputy secretary for the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) since January 2017, after serving as chief of staff for the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. Walke replaces Emily Boedecker, who served as DEC Commissioner for three years.
“Peter has been important an member of our team and a proven leader in state government, and will be a valuable asset in leading DEC,” said Governor Scott. “During his time as Natural Resources deputy secretary, he’s led multi-state efforts to protect Vermont’s drinking water and been integral in our work to tackle climate change issues. Peter’s experience in developing sound environmental policy that supports our efforts to build a dynamic economy will continue to help us protect our natural resources and strengthen our state.”
Walke will now lead DEC’s 300 employees working to advance clean air, clean water and healthy communities. DEC is one of three departments in the Agency of Natural Resources, along with the Fish and Wildlife Department and the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.
“Peter has been instrumental in developing and implementing strong, common-sense environmental policy,” said ANR Secretary Julie Moore. “His ability to lead bipartisan efforts across the state and region has been invaluable. This skillset will be an asset to the DEC. During his time as ANR’s deputy secretary, Peter co-chaired the Vermont Climate Action Commission and represented Vermont in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. He also coordinated efforts to provide clean drinking water for Vermont residents affected by PFAS chemical contamination.”
Raised in Vermont, Walke attended Williams College in Massachusetts and the University of Colorado. After college, Walke joined the Navy, serving nine years as an intelligence officer stationed in Florida, Virginia, England and Colorado, and was deployed twice to support counterterrorism operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. After resigning his commission, Walke was selected for a leadership development fellowship serving the governor of New York. He quickly became one of the governor’s primary environmental advisors and was named chief of staff of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. Walke lives in Montpelier with his two children.
“I’m honored to be appointed to this position and am committed to continuing to work in partnership with Vermonters to protect the environment through sound, transparent and consistent policies and programs,” said Walke. “I’m looking forward to leading the Department’s talented team and expanding our collaboration within Vermont and around the region.”
About the Department of Environmental Conservation: The Department of Environmental Conservation is one of three departments in the Agency of Natural Resources. The Department is responsible for protecting Vermont’s natural resources and safeguarding human health for the benefit of this and future generations. Department employees are stationed throughout Vermont, including offices in Montpelier and at five regional locations located in Essex, St. Johnsbury, Montpelier, Rutland, and Springfield.