Office of the Secretary

P.O. Box 4301
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4301
Phone: (225)219-3953
FAX: (225)219-3971

Peggy M. Hatch

Hatch received a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from Louisiana State University. Prior to joining the department, Hatch worked in hospital laboratories. Employed with the state of Louisiana since 1985, she joined DEQ in 1990. Throughout her career with DEQ, she has worked primarily in the area of water enforcement. From 2002 until 2008, Hatch served as Administrator for the Enforcement Division.  Prior to her appointment as Secretary in January 2010, Hatch served as Assistant Secretary in the Office of Environmental Compliance. 

Vladimir Alexander Appeaning, Ph.D.
Deputy Secretary
Dr. Appeaning attended Southern University and A & M College where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Urban Forestry, a Master of Environmental Science, a Master of Public Administration and a doctorate in public policy analysis. His Ph.D. concentration was in environmental policy and management. Prior to his current appointment as Deputy Secretary, Appeaning, served as faculty in the Public Administration/Public Policy Program housed in the Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Southern University and A&M College. Appeaning’s tenure in higher education administration includes appointments as a Vice President at Langston University, Langston Oklahoma, Associate Vice President and Director of Community Relations and Special Projects at Grambling State University, Grambling Louisiana, and Assistant Director for the National Urban Recreation Research Center funded as part of a Cooperative Agreement between the U.S. Department of the Interior and Southern University and A&M College..



Organization and Functions

DEQ's Office of the Secretary is divided into several functional areas:

Herman Robinson
Executive Counsel
Robinson has a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Juris Doctorate from Southern University. He has more than 18 years experience practicing law at DEQ. During his tenure with DEQ, Robinson, has held positions of Staff Attorney, Administrative Law Judge and Assistant Secretary for the Office of Legal Affairs and Enforcement and most recently as General Counsel. In his role as General Counsel, Robinson, acting also as division administrator, managed the operations of the Legal Affairs Division, with a total of 28 employees, including 15 attorneys and seven paralegals. He reorganized the division into four separate sections: permits, enforcement, general law, and administrative support, to provide a better focus for client services. Robinson received a Certified Public Manager designation in March 1996.



Gregory Langley

Press Secretary

Langley graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science in communications. He has worked for newspapers in Picayune, Miss., Alexandria and Baton Rouge for the past 30 years. He has been a managing editor, crime reporter, page designer, copy editor, features writer, books editor and features editor.

Media Relations

Public Service Announcements

Special Events and Ceremonies

Discover DEQ - DEQ quarterly E-Newsletter

Other areas under the Office of the Secretary:

Jeffrey T. Nolan


Criminal Investigation Division

Nolan obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental science from Louisiana State University in 1991.  He has worked in varying capacities since joining the Department in 1991. Nolan''s diverse work experience includes positions with water enforcement, water surveillance, water permits, watershed surveys, air surveillance, and air enforcement. In addition to his work experience within the Department, Nolan also worked as a consultant at a superfund site in Baton Rouge and as a process operator at a major petrochemical facility in Geismar.




 Bijan Sharafkhani, P.E.


Business, Community Outreach and Incentives Division 

Sharafkhani received both his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of New Orleans. He has more than 25 years of experience in the environmental field.  Sharafkhani has served in various managerial and technical capacities in solid, hazardous and remediation programs with DEQ for more than 16 years. He is licensed professional engineer in civil and environmental engineering in Louisiana.

 Function: To provide both regulatory and non-regulatory approaches to ensure protection and improvement of the environment through technical and/or financial outreach.


Chris Ratcliff


Ratcliff earned a B.S. degree in Management and Administration from Louisiana State University and a law degree from the LSU Law Center. He began his career with the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, where he handled environmental enforcement matters for four years. In 1992, he joined the DEQ Legal Division. As a staff attorney and attorney supervisor, he has advised and represented DEQ on enforcement, permit appeals and remediation issues in matters spanning the scope of the agency’s regulatory programs. 

Ratcliff has been a guest lecturer in the environmental law course at Louisiana Tech University, and has served as a council member and chair of the Environmental Law Section of the Louisiana Bar Association.


As the managerial branch of the Department, the Office of the Secretary facilitates achievement of environmental improvements by coordinating the other program offices' work to reduce quantity and toxicity of emissions, representing the Department when dealing with external agencies, providing legal counsel to the Department, communicating effectively with the public, and by promoting initiatives that serve a broad environmental mandate.


Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality 602 N. Fifth Street Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Call or e-mail a hotline · Office Address/Phone listing · Locate a DEQ employee
Call 1-866-896-LDEQ or e-mail our Customer Service Center with questions or comments