New Commissioner for City’s Environmental Protection Agency

Carter H. Strickland Jr., who has helped lead the Bloomberg administration’s efforts on environmental sustainability, has been named commissioner of the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced on Wednesday.

Mr. Strickland, 43, replaces Caswell F. Holloway, who was recently appointed deputy mayor for operations.

“Over the last two years, D.E.P. has risen to new heights — cutting costs while becoming a more efficient and effective agency,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a statement. “Carter Strickland has been a key part of that success, and has been a highly effective leader in our efforts to create a greener, greater city since he joined our administration four years ago.”

Most recently, Mr. Strickland was the department’s deputy commissioner for sustainability. He has been a key player in the mayor’s PlaNYC initiative, which began in 2007, and helped spearhead the city’s Green Infrastructure Plan, aimed at capturing rain water and reducing combined sewer overflows and flooding.

Before joining the Bloomberg administration in 2007, Mr. Strickland served as the acting director of the Rutgers Environmental Law Clinic. He is also the board director of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies.

“Our often unheralded workforce of nearly 6,000 employees is part of the backbone of our city,” Mr. Strickland said in a statement, “supplying more than one billion gallons of the world’s best drinking water every day.”

Councilman James F. Gennaro, the chairman of the City Council’s committee on environmental protection, called Mr. Strickland “a nationally known and universally respected environmental leader.” Edward Lloyd, director of the Environmental Law Clinic at Columbia University, who knew Mr. Strickland from his time at Rutgers, lauded the new commissioner as a standout attorney with a passion for water quality.

Environmental groups also praised the choice, citing Mr. Strickland’s efforts to sustain the environment.

“I think Carter has been a good leader in terms of helping promote innovation,” said Paul Gallay, president of Riverkeeper, a clean water advocacy group. “We’re going to be counting on him to go all in on issues like green infrastructure.”

Eric A. Goldstein, environmental director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the decision to replace Mr. Holloway with his deputy made sense for an agency with so many moving parts.

“Continuity is critical at D.E.P.,” he said. “There are big shoes to fill, but this sounds like a solid and logical choice.”

The department has had a trying summer, after a sewage discharge at the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant in Harlem led to the closure of four beaches last month and curtailed recreational activity on many city waterways. Avoiding a similar disaster, Mr. Gallay said, should be one of the new commissioner’s top priorities.

“The city has to invest in preventative and corrective maintenance,” he said. “You can’t afford any more accidents like that.”

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