Biden appeals to Montgomery County environmental chief Ortiz for key EPA position
The White House announced Tuesday that Adam Ortiz would become the administrator of the EPA Region 3 office, which is based in Philadelphia and oversees EPA activities in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Washington, DC, and works with seven Native American tribes.
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The Biden administration turned to an experienced Maryland politician and politician for a key environmental position.
The White House announced on Tuesday that Adam Ortiz would become the office administrator for the agency’s Region 3, which is based in Philadelphia and oversees EPA activities in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Washington, DC, and works with seven federally recognized individuals. Native American tribes. The EPA’s Chesapeake Bay program office is also housed within the Region 3 operation.
Ortiz, director of the Montgomery County Environmental Protection Department, is one of 14 people appointed Tuesday to regional leadership positions in the Biden administration.
“These regional appointments will be critical to the president’s efforts to rebuild the communities most affected by the pandemic, economic recovery and climate change,” the White House said in a statement. âThey bring deep expertise in their areas of intervention as well as critical relationships with federal, state, tribal and local leaders. And, in keeping with the president’s commitment to building an administration that resembles America, these regional appointees represent the diversity of Americans and the communities they serve.
Ortiz has served as Montgomery’s chief environmental officer shortly after taking office as county executive Marc B. Elrich (D), head of a $ 140 million agency with 300 workers and subcontractors. The department oversees recycling and resource management, watershed restoration, greenhouse gas reduction, renewable energy, sustainability and environmental compliance programs.
Prior to joining Montgomery County in 2019, Ortiz held a similar position with the Prince George County Department of Environment from 2012 to 2018, where he oversaw stormwater management, recycling, waste management, animal services and sustainability programs. While in Prince George, he launched several initiatives, including the largest municipal organics composting facility in the country, a $ 100 million public-private partnership for green infrastructure focused on small business and community development. local businesses, and various partnerships with the religious, non-profit and commercial sectors.
Ortiz also worked in the administration of former Governor Martin J. O’Malley (D) from 2007 to 2012, as the former Lieutenant’s Deputy Chief of Staff. Governor Anthony G. Brown (D), and as Special Assistant to Secretary Tom Perez at the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.
Ortiz has been active in local politics, serving three terms as mayor of Edmonston in Prince George County, and is a leader in the county’s growing Latino community. As recently as last week, Ortiz was one of many Latino leaders who accused County Director Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) of do not hire a single person of Hispanic descent in an agency-level position since his election almost three years ago.
Ortiz has also done advocacy work on equity and human rights issues, including as Soros Justice Fellow at the American Bar Association and as Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s office in the Midwest.
He is regularly mentioned as a possible senior state administration official the next time a Democrat is elected governor, but for now he will be working federally in the EPA.
For most of the Trump administration, the Region 3 administrator position was held by Cosmo Servidio, who had served as regional director of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under the Republican and Democratic administrations and had been director of environmental affairs for the Bucks County Water and Sewerage Authority in suburban Philadelphia. Servidio had also worked in the insurance industry and was chief of staff in the EPA Region 2 office, which covers New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, during the second half of George W’s administration. Bush.
Environmental groups and elected officials applaud Ortiz’s appointment.
âProtecting and restoring the Chesapeake Bay is one of the highest priorities for EPA Region 3,â said Kristin Reilly, director of the Choose Clean Water Coalition. âOrtiz’s knowledge, experience and dedication to drinking water as a state and local official is invaluable in achieving this goal.
US Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) Noted that Ortiz has previously worked on the Ocean City Beach Patrol and added, âI am delighted to have a Marylander who understands the iconic nature of the Bay of Chesapeake at the head of the EPA region. 3. “
Alison Prost, vice president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for environmental protection and restoration, called Ortiz an âexcellentâ choice. But she also used her appointment as an opportunity to push Pennsylvania, which has failed to meet its pollution reduction targets for the bay.
âThis is a critical time for the EPA and the Chesapeake Bay,â said Prost. âWhile most jurisdictions have plans to meet their pollution reduction goals, Pennsylvania doesn’t. Mr. Ortiz must use his experience and creativity to turn plans into action by mobilizing the necessary federal resources while using EPA authorities to hold them accountable. It should also help restore the transparency needed to determine where jurisdictions succeed, as well as where they fail. “