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For Release: Tuesday, February 14, 2017

DEC Announces New Director for Environmental Justice

Rosa Méndez appointed to advance agency's environmental justice efforts

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Rosa Méndez as Director of the Office of Environmental Justice.

"Rosa Méndez is bringing a wealth of legal knowledge and advocacy to DEC. Her background in energy, land-use and clean air, as well as housing rights, make her an asset to the agency. She will accelerate our ongoing efforts to bring all New Yorkers to the table when critical environmental and climate decisions are being made," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.

Méndez comes to DEC from the New York Department of State's Coastal Management Program. In this position, she analyzed federal proposals in coastal areas to ensure consistency with state policies and worked to meaningfully involve impacted communities in local waterfront revitalization programs. Her prior experience includes working in criminal defense law, and as a Public Service Fellow, empowering New York's vulnerable homeless population.

Méndez hails from New York City's Sunset Park neighborhood and holds an undergraduate degree in Natural Resources from Cornell University, and a Juris Doctorate from Vermont Law School, where she was President of the Latin American Law Students Association. She is a member of both the New York and New Jersey Bar, as well as the Hispanic National Bar Association.

"DEC is advancing environmental justice because the agency recognizes the intersection of our work and the hard work of communities to create healthier and more resilient neighborhoods," Méndez said. "I am excited to be joining DEC to ensure that all New Yorkers have a voice, especially those on the frontlines of climate change."

DEC's Office of Environmental Justice addresses the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all citizens in the development and implementation of environmental programs to ensure that no group or community is made to bear a disproportionate share of the harmful effects of pollution or environmental hazards.

Visit DEC's website to learn more about DEC's Environmental Justice programs.

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