Office of the Commissioner

Patricia Aho, Commissioner

The Office of the Commissioner supports the commissioner and deputy commissioner in carrying out their day-to-day responsibilities. It also assists the program bureaus in areas that cross bureau boundaries. The Office has three functional units: Communications and Education, Assistance, and Policy Development and Implementation. The Office as a whole is responsible for coordinating inter- and intra-departmental issues and assuming special assignments as needed by the commissioner and the deputy commissioner.

The Office of Communications and Education

directs all DEP communications and education efforts to create and maintain public understanding and support for departmental objectives, programs, and regulatory requirements and best practices. The office develops and disseminates all official agency announcements including media releases, weekly highlights, educational columns and other documents/materials of interest to the public and regulated community; delivers regulatory and non-regulatory based environmental training to a variety of audiences, including through its Nonpoint Source Training Center and TankSmart program; coordinates the Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence; responds to requests for public information; coordinates, prepares and promotes department staff public presentations and media conferences; and manages all DEP’s web content, including the department website and social media presence. The Communications Director serves as the agency spokesperson and is the liaison for all DEP-related media inquiries. Karl Wilkins, Acting Director 207-287-5842

The Office of Innovation and Assistance

serves as a centralized and cost-free resource for those in need of assistance and advocacy in navigating environmental laws, rules and best management practices. Staff works to improve Department processes to serve Maine people and regulated entities by providing environmental training to municipalities, members of the public, businesses and sector associations on regulations and best management practices. Efforts include streamlining and improving the Department’s contracting procedures and working with agency staff and the private sector to develop relevant, cost-effective training. Chris Swain, Director 207-287-7831

The Policy Development and Implementation Unit

develops and ensures proper implementation of the laws, rules, guidelines, policies and procedures of the Department of Environmental Protection. By understanding how the various programs throughout the Department work together in a way that achieves the our mission to steward our natural resources while maintaining a strong and sustainable economy, the Unit assists DEP staff implement their specific programs and initiatives in a manner that maximizes the benefits both within the individual programs and across the Department. Heather Parent, Policy Director 207-287-7830