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Water Protection Leader Named New Director of Chesapeake Bay Program

Release Date: 03/06/2007
Contact Information: Carin Bisland, 410-267-5732; bisland.carin@epa.gov Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543; smith.bonnie@epa.gov

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Jeffrey L. Lape, who has helped lead key government initiatives to combat water pollution and protect watersheds, has been selected as the next Director of the Chesapeake Bay Program Office, it was announced today by Donald S. Welsh, Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s mid-Atlantic region.

“Jeff has the leadership skills, experience and commitment necessary to build on our progress in restoring and protecting North America’s largest estuary,” said Welsh. “The Chesapeake Bay is one of our great natural treasures, and Jeff’s expertise will serve us and our many partners and stakeholders well as we continue to accelerate efforts to safeguard the Bay and its living resources.”

Welsh said that Lape has a record of “bringing people together and solving problems.” He also has a strong background in the technical, legal and policy aspects of watershed management, and a wide range of environmental experience in federal, state and local government and the private sector in a more than 30-year career, said Welsh.

For the majority of his 16 years with the U.S. EPA, Lape has served in key positions involving leadership in national water pollution control strategies.

He helped to spearhead EPA’s reform efforts with industrial wastewater management, combined sewer overflows, animal feeding operations, watershed-based permitting and several other Clean Water Act programs.

Lape is serving as a director in EPA’s Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center in the Office of General Counsel, where, as the agency’s Dispute Resolution Specialist, he advocates for the use of collaborative strategies to bring parties together to resolve environmental issues. He has overseen a variety of cases involving such complex matters as interstate water quality conflicts, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits and Superfund remediation.

“It is truly an honor to be entrusted with this responsibility,” said Lape. “I look forward to meeting and working with the partners, stakeholders and all involved in the Bay’s restoration. As someone who grew up on a lake in the Adirondacks and focused my education and career on improving the environment, this is a tremendous opportunity. I can’t wait to get started.”

Lape, who resides in Chevy Chase, Md. with his wife and three sons, has lived in the Chesapeake Bay watershed for 26 years. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh and a master’s degree in Environmental Science and Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Lape will replace Rebecca Hanmer, who officially retires on March 18 and has held the position since March 2002.

Welsh praised outgoing director Hanmer for her accomplishments as head of the Chesapeake Bay Program Office.

“Rebecca has been a strong advocate for the Chesapeake Bay,” said Welsh. “Her passion for the Bay and her dedication to its improvement has helped the program take vital steps toward recovery.”

The Chesapeake Bay Program is a regional partnership of state and federal agencies, academic institutions and non-governmental organizations formed in 1983 to lead and direct restoration of the Bay.

As the representative of the federal government, EPA and its Chesapeake Bay Program Office coordinate activities and implementation of strategies to meet the restoration goals of the Chesapeake Executive Council, comprised of the EPA administrator, the governors of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, the mayor of the District of Columbia and the chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, a tri-state legislative advisory body.

The bay’s watershed covers 64,000 square miles of land across New York, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. The Bay’s main stem stretches some 200 miles from its confluence with the Susquehanna River in Havre de Grace, Md. to its mouth near Norfolk, Va. The watershed is home to more than 16 million people and 3,600 species of plants, fish and animals.

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