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Assistant N.H. Environment Commissioner Resigns Soon After Confirmation

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NHDES
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A top state environmental regulator who had ties to the chemical industry has resigned less than a month after his confirmation.

The governor and Executive Council on Wednesday accepted Dennis Deziel’s resignation as assistant commissioner of the Department of Environmental Services.

Deziel began the job in late March and says in a statement that he is leaving for “personal reasons.”

He was a former Dow Chemical lobbyist who led the Environmental Protection Agency in New England for part of former President Trump’s term in office.

A state official tells NHPR that Deziel is taking a different job in Washington, and that the possibility he would have had to recuse himself from Dow-related issues was a consideration in the resignation, but not its main cause.

Dow had a brief recent merger with DuPont, which is among the companies New Hampshire has sued for contributing to widespread PFAS chemical contamination in the state’s soil and water. 

Separately, DES’s top water regulator also handed in his resignation this month. Water division director Tom O’Donovan plans to retire, according to DES.

There’s no timeline for filling either of the vacancies. 

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.

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