Del. Gov. nominates replacement for departing DNREC secretary

 (photo courtesy DNREC)

(photo courtesy DNREC)

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell nominated Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Deputy Secretary David Small to lead the agency. 

The news came almost three weeks after DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara announced his resignation to head up the National Wildlife Federation in July. 

While the nomination is still subject to confirmation by the Delaware State Senate, Gov. Markell said Small’s experience makes him an ideal candidate to build on the state’s efforts addressing Delaware’s energy and environmental challenges. 

“David’s depth of knowledge and leadership on environmental issues has helped improve the quality of life for residents and visitors of our state for nearly three decades,” said Gov. Markell, D-Del. “His work at DNREC to make our state safer, cleaner and healthier has earned the respect of many, both in and out of state government.”

Small has spent the last 13 years as  deputy secretary. He has served six cabinet secretaries during his DNREC career, which spans 27 years. During his tenure at DNREC, Small has had a hand in initiatives like the state’s dam safety program, the creation of the Inland Bay Pollution Control Strategy to improve water quality and the universal recycling law. 

Honored to be nominated Small said, “If confirmed, I look forward to working with our many partners and the DNREC team to build on the successful foundation of this administration by making Delaware more resilient to the impacts of climate change and sea level rise, protecting our air, land and water quality, providing diverse and quality recreational opportunities for our citizens and visitors and preserving our open spaces and biodiversity.”

The news comes as no surprise to O’Mara who hoped the governor would tap his deputy as his replacement. In an interview on WHYY’s First last week, he described Small as someone with a keen intellect who knows how to “make good things happen.” 

O’Mara continued, “I think he’s the kind of person that would be effective at implementing a lot of the initiatives that have already been started.”

One of those initiatives includes the governor’s clean water bill. The legislation would impose a $45 service fee on residents to finance efforts to clean Delaware’s waterways and to upgrade the state’s flood abatement infrastructure. The measure is expected to come up for a vote this session, before the General Assembly adjourns for the year. 

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.