Mayor Bill DeBlasio today named Emily Lloyd -- a savvy government veteran with broad experience in New York City environmental issues -- to be his new Commissioner of Environmental Protection.
Commissioner Lloyd previously headed the Department of Environmental Protection from 2005 to 2008 under Mayor Bloomberg. She was also Commissioner of the City’s Department of Sanitation from 1992-94. In between those postings she held a major administrative position at Columbia University. And for the past three years, she has led the Prospect Park Alliance – the organization that in conjunction with the City’s Parks Department runs Brooklyn’s most famous green oasis.
The incoming commissioner, who is well-known to NRDC’s New York staff, is a solid and welcome choice. She can hit the ground running. And she is returning to lead the Department of Environmental Protection with a deep reservoir of experience in local government and a lifelong commitment to New York City.
Of course, running the DEP is one of the toughest jobs in New York, and Commissioner Lloyd will be facing some big challenges. She’ll need to build upon the Bloomberg Administration’s substantial environmental accomplishments by, among other things, continuing to safeguard the city’s irreplaceable upstate drinking water supply and to restore the city’s aging water and sewage infrastructure.
At the same time, the Commissioner will need to move quickly on climate resiliency and green infrastructure programs, find ways to keep a lid on water rates, and insure that DEP programs are benefitting residents throughout all New York City neighborhoods.
Emily Lloyd, New York City’s new Environmental Protection Commissioner, is back at DEP for an encore engagement. She’s a savvy veteran taking on one of New York City’s toughest jobs.
Mayor DeBalsio, in introducing Commissioner Lloyd at a City Hall press event this afternoon, laid out a little more of his own environmental vision, which included some encouraging statements.
“We have,” said the Mayor, “the potential to be the most sustainable big city in the world. And DEP is crucial to that work and crucial to creating a greener and more resilient city.”
For her part, Commissioner Lloyd listed four challenges she hopes to tackle: (1) strengthening the city’s water supply infrastructure; (2) reducing stormwater runoff (the number one source of water pollution into New York’s rivers and bays); (3) advancing renewable energy policies both at DEP and more broadly throughout the city; and (4) helping those still recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
The new Commissioner apparently has a friendly, pre-existing relationship with the Mayor -- stemming partly from having crossed paths in their prior government positions and partly from their joint proximity as Park Slope residents. This should be helpful to her down the line, when taking on some of the difficult management issues at DEP that she will inevitably face over the course of her tenure.
And deep down on her resume, you’ll read that Commissioner Lloyd has a masters’ degree in planning. We like that.
Between climate change challenges, Sandy resiliency matters, safeguarding our air and drinking water supply, maintaining our aging water and sewage hardware, and accomplishing all this and more with a renewed focus on equity and on benefitting all city neighborhoods, Commissioner Lloyd may one day ask herself why she ever decided to leave the pastoral setting of Prospect Park for the long days in Lefrak City.
All of us here at NRDC appreciate Emily Lloyd’s continuing commitment to public service. We’ll be there to support her and her team as they move aggressively on these issues. And we’ll be there to nudge them too, should we see things heading off track.