On September 21, Governor Tom Wolf nominated Acting Secretary of Environmental Protection Patrick McDonnell to serve permanently in that role, pending approval by the Pennsylvania Senate.
“In his acting capacity and throughout his career, Patrick has been a dedicated steward of the environment and a leader in advancing Pennsylvania’s energy development in a responsible way,” Governor Wolf said. “I trust Patrick to lead the Department of Environmental Protection in a way that protects our commonwealth’s land, water, and air, and ensures the department continues to make progress in the areas of innovation, responsible development, and working with legislators, industry, and advocates in a collaborative and productive way.”
Prior to his appointment as Acting Secretary, McDonnell was most recently the director of policy for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), where he oversaw the agency’s regulation and policy development processes. In addition, McDonnell ran the State Energy Office and was charged with coordination of renewable energy and energy efficiency issues.
Before returning to DEP, McDonnell was executive policy manager for former Commissioner Pamela A. Witmer of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, focusing on electric, natural gas, and water issues as well as cybersecurity and the impact of environmental regulation on energy markets.
Previously, McDonnell spent 13 years with DEP in a variety of roles. As deputy secretary for administration, he managed the budget, human resources, information technology, and facilities management. He also previously served as policy director and as an assistant to the special deputy secretary. He began his career at DEP working in the State Energy Office on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and green building projects. McDonnell received his M.A. in Political Science from Lehigh University and his B.A. in Politics from DeSales University.