DEEP: 1971 - DEP Established

Top 40
Environmental Accomplishments of the Past 40 Years

DEP Established

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) was formed to manage most aspects of Connecticut’s environment and outdoors.

As a result of growing concern about environmental quality in the 1960’s and the energy unleashed with the very first Earth Day in 1970, Connecticut’s legislature acted in 1971 to create the 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.

The Department’s first Commissioner, Dan W. Lufkin, split the new agency into two divisions: one concerned with preservation and conservation; and the other with enforcement of pollution orders or environmental quality. It is a management structure still used by the agency today.

Commissioner Lufkin felt strongly about everyone working together and stated, "This is the kind of challenge that should give your life its greatest meaning. For what we do, the way we care, not only has significance now but will guarantee the future of the state and the happiness of all the generations that come after us."

For an Agency tasked with the responsibility of protecting the quality of the state’s air, water, lands, preservation of Long Island Sound, management of wildlife, and state parks and forests there was much to do.

Over the years the DEP has made significant accomplishments, in cleaning up the water in Long Island Sound and inland, in improving air quality and beautifying Connecticut’s landscape. Success has been made in natural resources protection and outdoor recreation, restoration of wild turkeys and for the return of anadromous fish to Connecticut’s waterways. Over the year’s DEP’s role has grown as new environmental issues have emerged and as it took on responsibilities delegated to the states under various federal programs

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 $140 million and an attractive main office at 79 Elm Street in Hartford.  It now has a wide range of responsibilities, from protection of air, water and lands on the regulatory side of the agency to operation of an extensive state park system, a network of state forests and management of wildlife on the conservation side.

Commissioners of the Department of Environmental Protection/
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection




Dan W. Lufkin

1971 – 1973

Thomas J. Meskill

Douglas M. Costle

1973 – 1975

Thomas J. Meskill

Joseph N. Gill

1975 – 1976

Ella T. Grasso

Stanley J. Pac

1977 – 1987

Ella T. Grasso

Leslie Carothers

1987 – 1991

William P. O’Neill

Timothy R. E. Keeney

1991 – 1995

Lowell P. Weicker

Sidney J. Holbrook

1995 – 1997

John G. Rowland

Arthur J. Rocque, Jr.

1997 – 2004

John G. Rowland

Gina McCarthy

2004 – 2009

M. Jodi Rell

Amey Marrella

2009 – 2011

M. Jodi Rell

Daniel C. Esty 2011 - 2014 Dannel Malloy
Rob Klee
2014 - Present

Dannel Malloy