Assemblyman Pete Lopez, R-102, was appointed on Thursday to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as regional administrator for Region 2.
Lopez has served as a member of the state Assembly since 2007 representing a seven-county district including Mid-Hudson, Northern Catskills, Southern Tier and Capital Region. He will oversee environmental protection efforts in New York state, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Lopez is a member of the New York Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation and a member of the Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy on which he has worked to provide proper oversight of New York’s health and environment.
“Pete Lopez has spent nearly a decade in one of the country’s largest state legislatures working to improve the quality of life of his constituents,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement. “His familiarity with the region and his experience working to solve environmental problems in New York will be invaluable in helping EPA serve Americans in the Northeast and the Caribbean.”
Ladan Alomar is executive director of Centro Civico, an agency that provides comprehensive services to the children and families of Fulton and Montgomery counties, utilizing innovative education and intervention methodologies which highlight the possibilities of transformation within the Hispanic and low-income communities.
“Pete Lopez, for more than two decades, has made substantial contributions to improving lives of families in our region; we applaud him for his unconditional commitment to communities that he serves and congratulate him for his appointment to become EPA Regional Administrator,” Alomar said.
John Bartow, executive director of the Empire State Forest Products Association, said in a statement, “Pete Lopez has been a strong supporter of New York’s forests and the forest products industry for several decades. He brings a broad understanding of the importance of sustainably managing natural resources while also meeting the needs of communities and local economies based on those resources. Pete will be a great asset to EPA and its responsibilities in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
U.S. Rep. John Faso said Lopez will have to step down from the Assembly. “I assume it would be rather quickly,” he said.
According to state public service law, Lopez’s seat will have to be filled by a special election, which would be called by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, or in the 2018 general election. The deadline to fill the seat in this year’s general election has passed.
Faso said Lopez is an excellent choice for the EPA position.
“He’s got a very strong background in government and understands the federal and state relationship,” he said. “The region covers Puerto Rico and Pete speaks Spanish, so that will be a great help. Also, given the recent events there, they need all hands on deck.”