New DEEP commissioner confirmed

The state Senate on Thursday unanimously confirmed Robert Klee to be the new commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Klee, who has been chief of staff at DEEP for the past three years, has been serving as the interim commissioner since former Commissioner Daniel Esty announced his return to his tenured professorship at Yale University.

In testimony Feb. 25 to the Legislature's Committee on Executive and Legislative Nominations, Klee said he has been involved in a variety of areas at DEEP, from human resources to budgeting to technology and helping set policy for environmental regulations and state parks and forests. He said he was also "directly involved in the integration of the energy and environment sides of our agency and the build-out of a cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy agenda when Governor Malloy and this General Assembly took action to create a new Department of Energy and Environmental Protection," or DEEP, three years ago.

He said that becoming DEEP commissioner "is a dream come true for this Connecticut native who grew up with a real appreciation for the world of nature." Before coming to DEEP, Klee spent his professional life as a geologist and lawyer. Klee and his wife Anne live in Fairfield with their two sons.

During his first full day as commissioner Friday, Klee began tweeting messages using his handle @CommissionerRob about a black history program at DEEP and another about bald eagles at the Bent of the River Audubon Center in Southbury, presented by Jenny Dickson, DEEP wildlife biologist.

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