Office of the Secretary

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

Chuck Carr Brown, Ph. D.


Brown possesses a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the University of Southern Mississippi. He holds a Master of Public Administration from Southern University A&M College and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Public Policy/Environmental Policy from the Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Southern University A&M College in Baton Rouge.

Bijan Sharafkhani, P.E.

Confidential Assistant to the Secretary

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.

Denise Bennett

Deputy Secretary

Bennett previously worked at DEQ as an air permit writer from October 2003 to August 2006. She returns to the agency after 10 years as an industry consultant working with agricultural and petrochemical companies. Bennet has extensive experience in environmental regulatory affairs, compliance and permitting.

Bennett holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Howard University in Washington, and an MBA from LSU. She is a native of Arnaudville in St. Landry Parish.

Organization and Functions

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

Executive Counsel



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.

Jonathan McFarland


Business, Community Outreach and Incentives Division

McFarland began his career with DEQ in 2001. He spent seven years in Waste Engineering before moving to the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). Since 2009, McFarland has been Engineer Manager of the Technical Assistance Group within BCOID, overseeing the CWSRF Program and the Small Business and Community Assistance Program. McFarland graduated from LSU with a bachelor’s in environmental engineering and became a licensed Professional Engineer in 2006.

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
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