Jan 26, 2024
BATON ROUGE, LA – The newly appointed Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Secretary, Aurelia S. Giacometto took time in her first week to address the over 700 employees of DEQ through two employee town-halls. She shared her vision for the agency and its alignment with Governor Landry’s “Welcome Back Home Louisiana” message. She outlined the five tenets that will serve as DEQ’s guiding principles:
1. Striking a Regulatory Balance,
2. Building Our Future,
3. Modernizing for the next 100 years,
4. Sustainably Developing and Managing Our Natural Resources, and
5. Creating Trust and Being Good Stewards.
Secretary Giacometto walked her employees through her background, from her family roots in rural Mississippi to serving as the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, where she received bi-partisan support from the United States Senate. As a biologist and lawyer, most of her career was in the private sector within divisions of regulatory sciences and legal. This invaluable experience from the private sector will help streamline processes within DEQ and leverage new technology to better serve Louisiana, its visitors, and all industries within the state. The Secretary emphasized that services provided by DEQ are notable and incredibly important to maintaining Louisiana’s economy, reputation, and overall quality of life. She recognized that DEQ employees are the agency’s most valuable asset and she plans to utilize all of the individual talent and skills that each employee brings to the table.
The Secretary committed to visiting each of the regions in her first six months on the job, as well as getting into the field to see projects first hand. She channeled Governor Landry’s message about the environment from his inaugural speech where he stated, “As we shape policy and seek solutions to the challenges of energy, exploration, production, conservation practices, and the protection of our precious environment, we shall seek and we shall heed, all of the science.” Secretary Giacometto echoed those sentiments by telling employees that DEQ plays a significant role in the relationship between industry sustainably and responsibly developing the state’s vast natural resources and Sportsman’s Paradise, where residents and visitors travel from afar to enjoy Louisiana’s great outdoors. She affirmed that “all of the decisions that I make are based on sound science, the rule of law, and a thing called common sense.”
Secretary Giacometto named a few incoming members of her executive team. “They are ready to tackle the big jobs ahead of them and get to work for Louisiana,” she said.
As Giacometto closed each of the town-halls, she highlighted the importance of transparency, within all levels of the agency and to the public. She also encouraged the DEQ employees that “we will make the best decisions using the science and the data. There will be good days and there will be challenging days, but we will work hard and be sure to celebrate the wins.”