Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
During the 1960’s, people were increasingly concerned about the quality of the environment. This growing public interest culminated in millions of people taking to the streets for demonstrations around the nation marking the very first Earth Day in April of 1970.
Public support for action to improve the environment led the 1971 session of Connecticut’s General Assembly to create a new state agency – the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The new agency brought together numerous state boards and commissions that had been addressing issues related to the environment and the outdoors, such as the Water Resources Board, the Board of Fisheries and Game and the Parks and Forest Commission.
After signing this bill into law, then Governor Thomas Meskill appointed Dan W. Lufkin to serve as the Department’s first Commissioner. Commissioner Lufkin split the new agency into two divisions:
- one concerned with outdoor recreation and conservation, and
- the other with protection of the quality of Connecticut’s air, water, and lands.
In the time since the launch of DEP, great progress has been made in
- cleaning up the waters of Long Island Sound and inland,
- improving air quality,
- beautifying Connecticut’s landscape,
- the protection of natural resources,
- the expansion of the network of state parks and forests, and
- the restoration of terrestrial wildlife and aquatic life in the state’s waterways.
Over the year’s DEP’s role also grew, as new environmental issues emerged and as it took on responsibilities delegated to the states under various federal programs
The agency’s responsibilities were significantly expanded in 2011, with the passage of Public Act 11-80
, giving DEP responsibility for developing and implementing state energy policy. As a result of this legislation, the name of the agency was changed to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). As part of this change, the energy office at the Office and Policy and Management and the state’s utility regulatory authority became part of DEEP.
This new structure gave Connecticut – for the first time – a state agency with a focus on Connecticut’s energy future. Since then, the state has taken strong steps to expand energy efficiency programs, deploy clean energy resources, and reduce carbon emissions into our atmosphere to address Climate Change.
In its first days, DEP was an agency that had 491 full-time employees, a budget of just over $7 million and offices scattered all over Hartford. Today, the agency has more than 950 full-time employees, a budget of more than $170 million, an attractive main office at 79 Elm Street, Hartford, major field locations; and a state park and forest system offering 142 locations for people to enjoy the outdoors.
Current and Former Commissioners (DEP/DEEP)
Content last updated September 2017