Appointed by Governor Philip D. Murphy, Shawn M. LaTourette became New Jersey’s Acting Commissioner of Environmental Protection on January 16, 2021. Acting Commissioner LaTourette is responsible for formulating statewide environmental policy while directing programs that protect public health and ensure the quality of New Jersey’s air, land, water, and natural and historic resources.
A lawyer and policymaker with more than 20 years of experience in environmental protection, Acting Commissioner LaTourette began his career defending victims of toxic exposure, including organizing and advocating for the needs of vulnerable New Jersey communities whose drinking water was contaminated by petrochemicals. Throughout a career shaping environmental law and policy, he has served in executive roles and as a trusted adviser to governments, community and non-profit organizations, and leaders in industry and infrastructure, while also litigating high-stakes lawsuits involving environmental, energy and public health concerns.
Acting Commissioner LaTourette first joined the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) as the chief legal and regulatory policy adviser to then-Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe in 2018. He was elevated to DEP Chief of Staff in 2019 and to Deputy Commissioner in 2020. Since 2019, he has been responsible for running DEP’s operations while formulating policy and regulatory reforms to advance Governor Murphy’s environmental, climate change and clean energy priorities. Acting Commissioner LaTourette has developed and led initiatives that prioritize environmental justice while facilitating greenhouse gas emissions reductions, climate change resilience and adaptation, renewable energy deployment, water infrastructure enhancement, brownfields redevelopment, community renewal, and natural resource conservation and restoration.
Guided by a deep commitment to equity and a professional philosophy that uniting economic development and environmental improvement promotes the public good, Acting Commissioner LaTourette has been regarded as a consensus builder adept at achieving balance among competing priorities. His diverse background — in protecting vulnerable communities, facilitating the development of infrastructure and public works, managing business risk, promoting conservationist policies and advocating for equity — has made him a leading force in policy, program and project development, especially those at the complex juncture of economic development, energy and environmental protection.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Acting Commissioner LaTourette graduated magna cum laude from Rutgers University and earned his law degree summa cum laude from Rutgers Law School, where he was the class salutatorian and the recipient of multiple environmental and governance awards, and published scholarship on environmental law, natural resource damage and climate issues.Shawn M. LaTourette, Acting Commissioner