Gov. Andrew Cuomo has named his top environmental adviser as the new commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, a post that has been vacant since July.
Basil Seggos has been Cuomo’s deputy secretary for the environment since 2013. His appointment, announced Friday, is subject to approval by the state Senate.
Seggos is also a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve and serves at a JAG unit in Schenectady. He has previously worked for Hugo Neu Corporation, a private equity company focusing on recycling and sustainable industry, and for the environmental advocacy groups Riverkeeper and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“Basil is an exceptional public servant, a strong advocate for the environment, and is dedicated to serving the public both as a member of my administration and as a member of the U.S. military,” Cuomo said.
Former commissioner Joe Martens announced his resignation shortly after finalizing the state’s ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.
Several environmental groups praised Cuomo’s choice of Seggos.
“We could not think of a better person for this job,” said Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “There are many complex environmental challenges facing New York state and it is critical that we have such a seasoned environmental and energy expert at DEC.”
Adirondack Council Executive Director William Janeway said the appointment of Seggos “makes it clear that the governor stands committed to an agenda that is good for the wilderness and good for building more vibrant, sustainable communities in the Adirondack Park.”
The Business Council also praised the appointment.
“The state will be well served by his leadership and balanced approach to issues impacting business,” said Darren Suarez, director of government affairs at The Business Council.