Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner chose longtime Bay advocate W. Tayloe Murphy Jr. as his secretary of natural resources.

Murphy, before retiring in 1999 after 18 years in the House of Delegates, was the champion of many key pieces of environmental legislation, and a longtime advocate of controlling sprawl in the state.

As natural resources secretary, he will oversee all of the state’s environmental agencies, including the Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Conservation and Recreation, Marine Resources Commission, Department of Game and Inland Fisheri8s, and the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Department.

In the General Assembly, he was a leader in winning passage of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, which for the first time imposed some state authority over land use decisions in areas close to the Bay.

Other legislative initiatives pushed by Murphy include the Water Quality Improvement Act, which established a funding mechanism to pay for Bay-related nutrient reduction efforts, and legislation to ban phosphates from detergents. Before leaving the General Assembly, he also worked on the passage of legislation to regulate the increasing amounts of poultry litter being generated in the state.

“Tayloe Murphy is universally regarded as one of Virginia’s foremost authorities on Virginia’s natural and historic resources,” Warner said. “Throughout his service in the Virginia House of Delegates, Tayloe demonstrated the kind of leadership skills that draw people together and help them forge consensus on tough policy questions. He will work exceptionally well with members from both sides of the aisle.”

Murphy, who was also a longtime member of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, serving as its chairman four times, has stressed since his appointment his desire to make Virginia a leader in the Bay’s restoration.

“Maryland is viewed as the leader now and, as a Virginian, that hurts. That really hurts,” he said. “Gov. Warner has assured me that we’re going to be more active participants. And we absolutely should.”

Warner also named Robert G. Burnley as director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Burnley is a former DEQ Director of Program Support and Evaluation. He left the agency after four years’ service to take a post as the director of Technical Services and Information Systems Divisions at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

From 1991 to 1993, he was the deputy executive director of the State Water Control Board — a predecessor of the DEQ — rising through the ranks from pollution control technician for the Board after graduating from college in 1972.