Governor-Elect Youngkin Announces Selection of the Natural Resources Secretary and Director of Environmental Quality

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin announced he has chosen Andrew Wheeler as the next Secretary of Natural Resources and Michael Rolband as the next Director of Environmental Quality.

“Virginia needs a diverse energy portfolio in place to fuel our economic growth, continued preservation of our natural resources and a comprehensive plan to tackle rising sea levels. Andrew and Michael share my vision in finding new ways to innovate and use our natural resources to provide Virginia with a stable, dependable and growing power supply meeting Virginia’s power demands without passing the costs on to the consumer,” said Governor-elect Youngkin. “Together, we will address Virginia’s ongoing environmental, energy and natural resources challenges, including protecting the Chesapeake Bay, fully funding our best management practices, solving longstanding stormwater management issues and establishing a Coastal Virginia Resiliency Authority. Finally, David Paylor should be commended for his decades of service to DEQ. He has been an invaluable public servant, and I wish him well in his next adventures. I’m sure he will continue to make significant contributions to the Commonwealth.”

The Honorable Andrew Wheeler, Secretary of Natural Resources
Andrew brings extensive experience and passion to the administration, dedicating his career to advancing sound environmental policies. He completed his law degree at Washington University in St. Louis, his MBA at George Mason University, and his undergraduate work at Case Western Reserve University in English and Biology.

In 2019, the U.S. Senate confirmed Andrew as the 15th administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. He was previously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the EPA deputy administrator in 2018. He began his career during the George H. W. Bush Administration as a special assistant in EPA’s Pollution Prevention and Toxics office as a career employee.

He served as a principal and the team leader of the Energy and Environment Practice Group at FaegreBD Consulting, as well as Counsel at Faegre Baker Daniels law firm, where he practiced since 2009. He also served as the co-chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Industry team across the entire firm.

Prior to his work with the firm, Andrew served for six years as the majority staff director and chief counsel, as well as the Minority Staff Director, of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Before his time at the full Senate EPW Committee, he served in a similar capacity for six years for the Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate Change, Wetlands and Nuclear Safety.

Andrew is the past chairman of the National Energy Resource Organization (NERO) and a Stennis Fellow. He is also an Eagle Scout.

Michael Rolband, Director of Environmental Quality
Mike Rolband comes to the administration with an abundance of knowledge and hands-on experience, known as an environmental expert by colleagues across the United States, the team is grateful to have him as part of the administration. A graduate of Cornell University, Mike has a B.S. degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering along with an MBA and Master of Engineering Degree.

Mike founded Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. (WSSI), and grew the company from a one-man firm to a multi-disciplinary natural and historic resources consulting firm where he managed and led more than 160 regulatory and compliance specialists, scientists, engineers, surveyors, GIS specialists, archeologists, ecosystem and restoration specialists and arborists. Over nearly 30 years, his company provided services and permit approvals on more than 8,000 projects across 300,000 acres in the region, including data centers, major transportation infrastructure, master planned communities and office and industrial developments. He founded WSSI to assist economic developers in navigating the Clean Water Act, Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act and local environmental regulations.

Mike and WSSI started Virginia’s first wetland mitigation bank in 1991 (approved in 1994, fourth in the U.S.). Virginia’s first mitigation bank to provide stream credits (2001), and Virginia’s first urban stream bank in 2006. He has received numerous industry achievement and civic engagement awards and is frequently invited by public and private sector entities to conduct seminars on storm water management, mitigation, wetland and stream regulatory policy, and Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act regulations.

Mike established the Resource Protection Group, Inc., a 501(c) 3 non-profit that has awarded more than $5.4 million in grants to date, advancing the science of wetland and steam restoration and funding the graduate school education of dozens of students over the years through these research projects. From 2017 to 2020, Cornell University appointed him a Professor of Practice where he taught Wetlands and Stream Restoration. Mike is a registered Professional Engineer, Professional Wetland Delineator and a Professional Wetland Scientist (Emeritus).

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