Bonnie Heiple, an attorney, named MassDEP commissioner

The Healey administration reached into Boston's legal ranks to pick the state's new top environmental protection official.

Bonnie Heiple, currently an environmental and energy lawyer in the firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, starts next week as commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, EEA Secretary Rebecca Tepper announced Monday.

The regulatory agency makes critical air, water, and land use decisions, while weighing environmental justice considerations.

"Massachusetts residents should know that they have a leader at MassDEP who will protect their communities," Gov. Maura Healey said. "As commissioner, Bonnie Heiple will be focused on protecting our residents and our most precious resources from harmful contaminants and the threats of a changing climate."

In addition to more than 11 years at WilmerHale, Heiple previously worked as an attorney at Pullman & Comley in Connecticut and New York, as a law clerk at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and as special assistant to the commissioner of Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, according to her LinkedIn profile. She was chosen as a "top lawyer" in environmental law last year by Boston Magazine.

"We are living in an important moment for environmental protection as clean energy sources come online and federal dollars start flowing," John Beling, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, said in a statement. "Having worked with Bonnie in various capacities for more than a decade, I know she will be a strong leader for this moment, and look forward to collaborating with her and MassDEP on issues of regional significance."

Martin Suuberg, who served as MassDEP commissioner for nearly all of former Gov. Charlie Baker's two terms, joined the Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association as its new executive director in late January.


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