Person Of The Year
Daniel Walsh Honored as Brownfield Renewal Person of the Year
Dr. Daniel Walsh is the Director of the Mayor's Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) in New York City. He is an outspoken advocate for municipal governance of remedial action programs by U.S. cities-a role traditionally played by state government as a means to heighten attainment of local economic development, public health protection and community development goals. Appointed as OER's founding director by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2008, he established the New York City Voluntary Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP), the nation's first municipally-run brownfield cleanup program. Working closely with gifted government environmental veterans Shaminder Chawla, Mark McIntyre and Lee Ilan, they shepherded the NYC Brownfield Law to authorize creation of the NYC BCP, which was passed unanimously by the City Council in 2009, and negotiated a landmark agreement with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation that provides state liability protection for developers that use the NYC BCP.
The New York City Green Property Certification was established to formally recognize the safety of land remediated in the NYC BCP.
Walsh and his team of scientists and engineers at OER play many other roles to serve NYC residents. After Hurricane Sandy, they secured the approvals that enabled recycling of 200,000 cubic yards of beach sand washed ashore in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. Implemented with the NYC Parks Department, New York State DEC, US EPA, FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers, sand recycling saved taxpayers over $60 million in disposal costs and enabled the construction of a one mile-long, 12-foot high coastal flood protection berm that now provides a front-line defense for coastal communities against future storm surges. This work was part of a broader hurricane debris recycling effort that earned the United Nation’s 2013 Green Star Award.
Daniel Walsh lives in New York with his wife Jeanne, a registered nurse specializing in diabetes treatment, and son Zachary, a gifted high school student. He is proud to have worked exclusively in NYC throughout his 30-year environmental career. He formerly served as director of many New York State Department of Environmental Conservation environmental quality programs in NYC including Superfund, Brownfield Cleanup, RCRA, Solid Waste and Hazardous Waste. On September 11, 2001 he was appointed Chief of Operations leading New York State’s civilian environmental response to the World Trade Center disaster and served the full 11-month duration of that effort. He holds a Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and since 1999 has been an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory and the Columbia Earth Institute where he performs research on environmental history of NYC and forensic interpretation of environmental pollution patterns. He was recently honored with the American Bar Association’s 2013 Environment and Energy Resources Stewardship Award for his environmental work in NYC.
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