Dan Esty will step down as commissioner of Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection effective Feb. 3. He told Governor Malloy he plans to return to a teaching position at Yale.
Esty had been on leave from Yale's faculty since 2011. "I had long told Governor Malloy that Yale would give me two years, maybe three if I was lucky and then I would have to transition back into my professorial role and that time has come," Esty said, following an announcement of his decision this morning.
Esty took command of DEEP after serving in a number of senior positions for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as well as an advisor during the 2008 Obama Presidential campaign.
During his tenure at DEEP, the Commissioner said he worked to reduce regulatory burdens on Connecticut businesses and pursue cheaper and cleaner energy. "I'm very pleased about the progress we've made on ramping up energy efficiency. On demonstrating that we can buy renewable power in cost effective way. And really helping to drive innovation and the deployment of clean energy programs at much greater scale," Esty said.
One of those clean energy programs is the state's push for more natural gas, which has caught the ire of both environmentalists opposed to fracking and workers in the home oil-heating business. Esty says his successor will need to make the state's long-term energy goals a reality. "I think the remaining challenge is one of implementation. Of getting this to actually move forward on the ground," he said.
As to who will take over his job, Esty said it hasn't been decided yet, but he anticipates the new commissioner will likely be someone currently in a "senior management" position at DEEP. "I don't name the successor. The Governor will do so," Esty said. "I expect sometime in the next week he will nominate a new commissioner. I think the odds are good that it will be someone from within the inner circle of the department."
Esty will resume his post as director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Center for Business and Environment.