Thursday, September 06, 2012

DC Department of the Environment Director Fired

Christophe Tulou Terminated Just Before Labor Day Amid Questions

Christophe Tulou
The director of the District of Columbia’s Department of Environment (DDOE) has been fired.  Apparently, Tulou was fired for “a very serious breach of protocol,” which public accounts attribute to communications with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on stormwater management issues. Tulou had led the DDOE since May 2010.

One incident concerned efforts by city agencies to seek a waiver from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and other parties allowing it to test “low-impact development” as a substitute for expensive tunneling to prevent sewage from draining into the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. According to sources, Tulou approached the EPA without D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray’s knowledge to discuss seeking the waiver to a 2003 court-enforced consent decree — something Gray has publicly endorsed but which has been met with questions from some local environmental groups

It appears that Tulou was doing Gray's bidding, but maybe without his direct knowledge.  So why would this be controversial?  The 'breech of protocol' appears to be petty to us.  Some other forces must have led to the firing. His dismissal comes as tensions have risen between the environment department and real estate developers, who have been particularly critical of new regulations concerning stormwater management.  It does not appear that environmental groups or the business sector pressed Mayor Gray to fire Tulou.

Tulou, a former director of Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, was named to lead the department in 2010 by then-Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D).  He replaced George S. Hawkins, now general manager of D.C. Water. Tulou has also worked as a Congressional staffer and as secretary of Delaware’s environmental department.

Keith Anderson, who had been Tulou’s chief of staff, will lead the agency on an interim basis while the city searches for a permanent replacement. (CBSDC, 8/31/2012, Wash Post, 8/31/2012,

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