Jim Seif, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, resigned his position effective March 31 to become vice president of Corporate Services for PPL Corp., which is headquartered in Allentown, PA.
Gov. Tom Ridge named David Hess, who has been executive deputy secretary for policy and communications since 1995, as acting DEP secretary, pending Senate confirmation.
Seif, 55, has a long association with the Bay Program. As administrator for Region III in the 1980s, he was heavily involved in the development of the 1987 Bay Agreement, including setting its 40 percent nutrient reduction goal.
As DEP secretary, he was involved in the development of the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement — the follow-up to the 1987 document — and during meetings was often an advocate for some of the agreement’s most aggressive objectives.
Between his positions with the EPA and the DEP, Seif served on the board of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.
Seif was chosen by Ridge in 1995 to head what was then the Department of Environmental Resources. Seif guided that agency through a split into the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
In 1998, Seif co-chaired the Governor’s 21st Century Environment Commission to identify environmental priorities for the new century, which highlighted the problems of growth in the state and led to recent “Growing Smarter” legislation that gave communities new tools to manage growth.
The commission’s report also led to the creation of the nearly $650 million Growing Greener initiative, signed into law in 1999, which helps to preserve open space and farmland, reclaim abandoned mines, restore watersheds, upgrade water and sewer systems, and maintain state parks and forests.
Other initiatives during Seif’s tenure included aggressive efforts to clean up and redevelop abandoned industrial sites, the promotion of pollution prevention efforts among businesses and local governments, and the creation of an online system of tracking permit compliance that is available to the public.
Hess, before becoming executive deputy secretary, was the executive director of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Subcommittee for six years, and previously served in a variety of positions with the former Department of Environmental Resources.
Hess, 48, has a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois and a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Shippensburg University. He was chairman of the Penbrook Planning Commission in Pennsylvania’s Dauphin County for five years.