Shawn LaTourette appointed as Acting Commissioner of the EPA in NJ

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Shawn LaTourette
Shawn LaTourette at New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

Governor Murphy appoints nation’s first openly-gay Commissioner of DEP

Governor Phil Murphy announced the appointment of Shawn LaTourette to the position of Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. With this appointment, LaTourette, currently the NJDEP’s Deputy Commissioner, would be the first openly LGBTQ person to head a state or federal environmental protection agency.

“Shawn LaTourette’s years of work at the NJDEP spearheading clean air and water initiatives as well as environmental justice and clean energy have established his as a ‘perfect fit’ in this position,” Garden State Equality executive board member Thomas Prol, an environmental attorney at Sills Cummis & Gross law firm and former state bar president, said. “He is highly respected in the legal community, and his dedication to visionary environmental stewardship is impressive and why NJDEP is again viewed as one of the vibrant and impactful environmental agencies in the nation.”

“LGBTQ people like Shawn are ready to step up and serve in leadership positions in the Garden State. With LaTourette positioned to now become Commissioner, he would become the second openly LGBTQ person included in Murphy’s cabinet,” said Christian Fuscarino, Executive Director of Garden State Equality.

LaTourette brings 20 years of experience to the position. Before becoming a public servant, LaTourette specialized in the rights of victims of toxic injuries, worked in an advisory capacity for infrastructure, transportation, energy, and other industries to ensure compliance with state and federal environmental laws and policies.

LaTourette joined the DEP as chief legal and regulatory policy advisor in 2018, becoming chief of staff in 2019 and Deputy Commissioner in 2020. A lifelong New Jersey resident, LaTourette makes his home in Highland Park with his partner and their family.

J.L. Gaynor
J.L. Gaynor is Out In Jersey’s news editor, having spent eight years in the newsrooms of two major New Jersey papers. A Jersey girl through and through: born, raised, and educated in New Jersey. She has two dogs she adores, and reads just about anything she can get her hands on.