Former EPA regional administrator named director of Gulf ecosystem task force


John H. Hankinson Jr. was named executive director of the new Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

President Obama signed an executive order earlier this month, establishing the task force, which aims to coordinate efforts to implement restoration programs and projects along the Gulf Coast.

Hankinson serves as an environment and conservation lands consultant, advising on land conservation, strategic land use decision-making and constructive environmental management and policy projects across the southeastern United States, according to information provided by the EPA. He served as regional administrator of EPA Region 4 from 1994 until 2001.

Hankinson worked on the National Estuary Program in the Gulf of Mexico and directed the development and implementation of a water quality protection plan for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

As the executive director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, Hankinson will be tasked with coordinating interagency efforts, overseeing staff and outreach efforts to develop a regional ecosystem restoration strategy and ensure that science underpins the task force’s efforts, EPA officials said.

Jackson, the EPA administrator, will hold the first meeting of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force on Nov. 8 in Pensacola. More information about that meeting will be announced later.

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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