Commissioner Basil Seggos
Basil Seggos was appointed DEC Commissioner in October 2015, leading an agency of over 3,000 professionals. As the longest serving DEC Commissioner, he oversees programs that promote a clean, healthy and accessible environment, including: protecting and restoring New York's air, lands and waters, combatting climate change, enforcing State environmental laws and regulations, responding to natural and man-made disasters, and supporting world-class outdoor recreation on state lands and waters, including hunting, fishing, hiking and paddling.
Seggos was instrumental in the passage of the state's nation-leading climate change law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, and now serves as the co-chair of its implementing body, the Climate Action Council. Seggos also devised and is responsible for the $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act and spearheaded the reauthorization of the State's Superfund law and reforms of the Brownfield Tax Credit program. As co-chair of the State's Drinking Water Quality Council, Seggos oversaw the establishment of the most protective water quality standards for PFOA/PFOS and 1,4-dioxane.
In addition to leading DEC, Commissioner Seggos advises the Governor on environmental policy and issues. He also serves on a variety of boards, including as chair of the Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC), chair of the Hudson River Park Trust, the Adirondack Park Agency (APA), Delaware River Basin Commission, the Great Lakes Commission, the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, NYS Energy Planning Board, and others.
Prior to becoming DEC Commissioner, Seggos served as the Deputy Secretary for the Environment for the Governor, where he counseled the Governor on environmental policy and the operations of New York's environmental agencies, including DEC, the Office of State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, EFC and the APA, and was a liaison to the State Legislature on environmental issues and legislation.
Before his career in State government, Seggos served as Vice President of Business Development at Hugo Neu Corporation, a clean tech private equity company. He served as Chief Investigator and Attorney for Riverkeeper. During law school, he was legal clerk at the President's Council on Environmental Quality. He began his career as an Associate at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
Seggos graduated with a B.A. from Trinity College in 1996, and earned his law degree from Pace School of Law University in 2001, where he received the Environmental Law award and Alumni Achievement award.
Seggos served as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve.
When not in the office, Seggos can be found adventuring with his family, hunting or fishing in New York's outdoors, or restoring his old house.
Executive Deputy Commissioner Sean Mahar
Sean Mahar, a graduate of Siena College, is the Executive Deputy Commissioner for DEC helping to lead the agency's environmental protection and natural resource conservation efforts. Prior to becoming the Executive Deputy Commissioner in 2022, Sean was Chief of Staff overseeing external agency affairs and operations and guiding implementation of key agency priorities, and previously was the Assistant Commissioner of Public Affairs for the Agency. Before joining DEC, Sean was the Director of Government Relations and Communications for Audubon New York where he led efforts to advance state and federal conservation policies and build support for wildlife conservation initiatives in the state, including climate change adaptation strategies. Sean was also an adjunct professor at Siena College teaching a course on Environmental Policy and Management.
Chief of Staff Erica Ringewald
Erica Ringewald is DEC's Chief of Staff. Ringewald joined DEC in 2016 as Director of Media Relations before becoming Deputy Commissioner for Public Affairs in 2018. As Chief of Staff, Ringewald helps manage agency priorities, particularly strategic responses to emerging issues and challenges by tapping regional, policy, counsel, and congressional and legislative affairs staff to expedite and harmonize outcomes and safeguard New York's natural resources. She works closely with advocates, regulatory and technical staff, and division directors to design outreach and communications campaigns to achieve goals and maximize available resources. Prior to becoming Chief of Staff, Ringewald managed DEC's external communications and outreach. Before joining DEC, Ringewald helped manage media relations at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, worked as an independent consultant to not-for-profit organizations and foundations, and served as Communications Director for Environmental Advocates of New York. As Deputy Commissioner, Ringewald helped transform DEC's Press Office into one of the strongest communications operations in the state. She holds a M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Colorado State University and a B.A. in English Literature from Indiana University.
Additional Executive Staff
A full listing of all Deputy Commissioners and their program responsibilities can be found in the Executive Offices section on DEC's Program Directory webpage, along with an Executive organization chart (PDF).