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PA Senate overwhelmingly confirms Secretary Rich Negrin to lead the Department of Environmental Protection

Governor Josh Shapiro’s cabinet nominee was confirmed, making Negrin the first Latino Secretary of DEP to protect Pennsylvania’s air, land and water.


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History was made in Harrisburg on Tuesday, June 27 as the Pennsylvania State Senate overwhelmingly confirmed Governor Josh Shapiro’s cabinet nominee Secretary Rich Negrin to lead the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), making him the first Latino to lead the department. 

Negrin was interviewed and unanimously approved as the next Secretary following Patrick McDonnell, under former Gov. Tom Wolf. 

McDonnell, now CEO of the nonprofit PennFuture, at the time of Negrin’s nomination said his “municipal policy and clean energy expertise will be vital toward developing a sustainable climate future that is equitable and supports family-sustaining jobs.”

He officially comes into his new role with over three decades worth of public and private sector leadership experience and a long management track record. He previously served as Vice President of Regulatory Policy and Strategy at Commonwealth Edison and as City Manager and Deputy Mayor of Administration and Coordination at the City of Philadelphia.

Initially nominated in January, the former Philly top official also served as managing director and deputy mayor of administration under Mayor Michael Nutter from 2010 to 2016.

“I am deeply honored to serve the Commonwealth as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection. Governor Shapiro has worked tirelessly to assemble a dynamic, diverse and modern team to lead our Commonwealth and protect our environment,” Negrin said in a tweet. 

“Under the leadership of Governor Shapiro, we are dedicated to ensuring all Pennsylvanians will enjoy their right to drinkable water, breathable air and the preservation of the many values of our environment,” he added. 

With the guidance of the first-year governor, Negrin will now lead the department’s mission to protect the state’s air, land and water from pollution.

He previously served as Vice-Chair of the independent Philadelphia Board of Ethics and as Vice President and Associate General Counsel of ARAMARK Corporation. Before ARAMARK, he was a litigator with the law firm of Morgan Lewis. 

Negrin has served as a member of the Board of Directors for several Latino organizations including serving as Chair of the Governance Committee for Congreso de Latinos Unidos. 

He is also a former President of the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania (HBA) and has served on the Board of the HBA’s Legal Education Fund and has worked within the Hispanic National Bar Association.

Negrin’s last position was as vice president at Commonwealth Edison, the largest electric utility in Illinois, handling regulatory policy and strategy.

In the over five months since Negrin was first nominated, he’s worked very closely with Shapiro and other state agencies to respond to the East Palestine derailment that harmed the health and wellbeing of many of its residents. 

Negrin was also the head of response to the chemical spill in the Delaware River and most recently led the DEP consent order and agreement (COA) with Shell Chemicals Appalachia, LLC, for exceeding total emission limitations for air contaminants at its petrochemical facility in Beaver County. 

Shell would go on to agree to one of the largest payments in the state’s history, about $10 million, to DEP and to benefit the environment, health, and quality of life for the community near the facility.

Currently, he is overseeing the launch of the 2023 Permit Plan, the Expansion of Environmental Justice Efforts statewide, and the creation of a new Center of Environmental Excellence to drive operational excellence in the department.

Negrin’s parents are Cuban immigrants who fled Fidel Castro’s regime in 1961. He graduated from Rutgers University for law school and later worked as an assistant prosecutor in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office from 1995 to 2000. 

He unsuccessfully ran for Philadelphia District Attorney in 2017.


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