U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the appointment of Mary Walker of Georgia to become Regional Administrator for Region 4. Ms. Walker will oversee environmental protection efforts in eight southeastern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee, as well as six federally-recognized tribes.
Ms. Walker has served at the Agency since 2016, most recently as the Acting Regional Administrator for Region 4. Prior to this position she served as the Deputy Regional Administrator for Region 4, where she provided leadership to the senior career staff. She also served as the Region 4 Water Protection Division Director from 2016 to 2018, where she implemented and oversaw federal water programs in the Southeast region.
“Mary’s wealth of experience and expertise serving in both state government and as a senior career official at EPA makes her exceptionally qualified to lead Region 4,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Mary’s leadership and intimate knowledge of the region’s concerns will ensure that EPA continues to work closely with the states, tribes, and regulated community to improve lives and protect the environment.”
As an Alabama native and University of Georgia graduate, Ms. Walker has dedicated her career to serving the Southeast region. She started her career working in the Georgia Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget and has served in various roles in Georgia state government. In 2012, she joined the Georgia Environment Protection Division and was appointed Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer in 2013, where she helped oversee the 750 person environmental regulatory agency. She joined the EPA in 2016 as Water Protection Division Director.
Widespread Praise for Walker’s Appointment:
“As the acting-Region IV Administrator, Mrs. Walker has shown herself to be a capable leader. I appreciate her willingness to see the needs of Mississippians firsthand,” said U.S. Senator Roger Wicker. “I am looking forward to working with Administrator Walker to find a solution to the ongoing flooding that has caused untold damage in our state.”
“I congratulate Mary Walker on her appointment as the EPA Administrator for Region 4. Mary is uniquely qualified and will serve the Southeast Region well,” said Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi. “I’ve worked with her in the past and she certainly understands the role that a regulatory agency should have on the states. She is an excellent person to provide leadership for EPA in Region 4. I look forward to working with her for the benefit of Mississippians and the nation in the years ahead.”
“Mary Walker is an outstanding choice for Region 4 Administrator. I’ve know and worked with Mary for a number of years and can attest that she has both the integrity and knowledge to successfully lead Region 4,” Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality Director Gary Rikard. “Mary’s time as a state regulator gives her the unique ability to understand State’s concerns and to help ensure the relationship between the States and Region 4 sets the bar for cooperative federalism”
“The Trump administration and EPA Administrator Wheeler could not have named a more qualified and capable person to be EPA Region 4 Administrator than Mary Walker,” Alabama Department of Environmental Management Director Lance LeFleur. “She has the experience, smarts, judgment, objectivity, demeanor, and leadership skills necessary for the challenging work of the Region. With the support of the excellent career staff in Region 4 I look forward to great things from Mary.”
“I can’t think of a better choice to lead Region 4 than Mary Walker,” said Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein. “I am fortunate to have worked with Mary on many critical state and regional issues and I am confident that her leadership and regulatory experience will be invaluable as we work to work together to meet the challenges ahead.”
“Administrator Walker’s deep experience in both the state and federal arenas makes her a great fit for this job,” said Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely. “Our interactions with her show that she is a great listener and will work with states such as ours to solve problems.”
“I have had the pleasure of working with Mary Walker for many years. Her prior experience as the Assistant Director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division gave her insight, experience, and knowledge of the diverse and unique environmental challenges that states and rural communities face,” said Director of Environmental Affairs at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control Myra Reece. “During her time as the Acting Regional Administrator at EPA Region 4, she has sought and incorporated states’ input into the Region’s priorities and initiatives. I’m very pleased to be able to continue working with Mary and her Region 4 staff to enhance and modernize cooperative federalism and collaboratively achieve SC’s vision of Healthy People Living in Healthy Communities.”
This is a press release from the EPA.