Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator of the EPA’s mid-Atlantic Region, announced that Rebecca Hanmer has been selected as the new director of the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program.

“Rebecca brings an unparalleled record of experience to the important job of protecting the nation’s largest estuary,” Welsh said. “She has been an important leader in the development of many federal water protection programs, and I am confident that she will expand our partnership efforts that will lead to real and measurable environmental benefits in the Bay and its entire watershed.”

She takes the place of Bill Matuszeski, who retired last April after serving as Bay Program director since 1991. Diana Esher, who has served as acting director since then, will return to her position as deputy Bay Program director.

Hanmer is expected to begin her new position within the next two months.

She is currently director of Region III’s Water Protection Division, a post she has held since December 2000.

She has been increasingly involved with the Bay Program, serving as co-chair of its Water Quality Steering Committee for more than a year. The committee has been working with state and federal officials to develop new water quality standards for the Bay and set new nutrient and sediment reductions for major rivers by the end of September.

A career federal executive, Hanmer began her government service in 1964 as a program analyst in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Hanmer is a charter member of the EPA, joining when the agency was created in 1970. Since 1975, she has held a number of executive positions in theEPA in both Washington and in several EPA regions.

Her posts have included acting assistant administrator for water, deputy assistant administrator for water, regional administrator for Region IV in Atlanta, acting regional administrator for EPA’s Region VIII in Denver, director of the Office of Water Enforcement and Permits and Federal Activities in EPA headquarters and deputy regional administrator for Region I in Boston.

From 1990 to 1997, Hanmer worked for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, where she managed OECD’s technology and environment program and headed the Pollution Prevention and Control Division.

Just prior to her current post, she was the EPA’s program manager for the mountaintop mining/valley fill environmental impact statement, and from 1997 to 1998 she was Region III’s liaison with the District of Columbia.

A native of Keysville, VA, Hanmer is a recipient of the President’s Distinguished Federal Executive Award and has twice received the President’s Meritorious Federal Executive Award.

She attended the College of William and Mary, New York University and the American University in Washington, D.C. and holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in political science.

The EPA is the lead federal agency for the Chesapeake restoration effort.

The Bay Program, created in 1983, is a cooperative restoration effort among Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, the District of Columbia, the Chesapeake Bay Commission and the federal government.

Under the leadership of the six-member Chesapeake Executive Council, composed of the EPA administrator, the governors of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, the mayor of District of Columbia and the chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, Hanmer will be responsible for implementing the Executive Council’s goals and objectives for the restoration of the Bay.

The Council has adopted three major agreements over the years – in 1983, 1987, and the Chesapeake 2000 agreement which sets out a detailed agenda for the Bay Program which includes quantifiable goals and target dates for reaching them.