Environmental Director Appointed
By Karen A. Grava
Richard Miller, who has 18 years of experience in environmental policy, has been named the University's director of environmental policy.
Miller has been manager of environmental regulatory affairs at Northeast Utilities, where he was charged with strengthening the company's environmental and regulatory performance and community relations and with building employee awareness about environmental issues. Miller joined the University on Sept. 20.
He has been a member of state, regional, and local environmental groups, including the Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality, the Water Bureau Advisory Committee of the state Department of Environmental Protection, the Simsbury Conservation and Inland Wetlands Commission, and the Simsbury Land Conservation Trust. Formerly, he was a member of the DEP's Aquifer Protection and Land Use Regulations Task Force and Remediation Standards Advisory Committee.
"Rich has the experience to lead the University in its formulation of environmental policy," said Chancellor John Petersen. "He is joining the University at a time when it is critical for us to further strengthen our environmental performance and build upon our environmental commitment.
"We anticipate that Rich will establish good relations not only with regulatory agencies but also with various interest groups," added Petersen, "and that he will have a constant eye toward continuing the transformation of the University in a manner that also enhances the natural environment."
Miller will not only be involved with compliance issues for the University but also will be charged with developing an enhanced environmental awareness as part of the UConn 2000 and 21st Century UConn building programs.
"It's exciting to know that I can make a difference by ensuring that an environmental ethic will be a guiding principle to the ongoing construction and renovation of the University's facilities throughout the state," Miller said. He hopes to enhance the University's use of environmentally sound land-use planning strategies that address public concerns and consider natural resource conservation a priority.
He is also looking forward to working with a number of groups interested in UConn's growth. "It is important for UConn to listen to public concerns and then respond to and address those concerns," he said.
UConn has an institutional commitment to preserve as open space nearly 2,400 acres on the 3,500-acre main campus and wants to preserve and enhance the natural environment, while constructing and renovating facilities in an environmentally friendly way, Petersen said.
Miller has been involved in an array of environmental issues. At Northeast Utilities, he led many collaborative initiatives with environmental groups and founded the company's environmental community grant program. He also worked on compliance, including hazardous waste management and clean-up, water discharge permitting, and air quality policies. He co-chaired the Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership, a voluntary initiative that identified sponsors for restoring Connecticut wetlands and other aquatic habitats.
Miller comes to the University highly recommended by members of environmental groups as a person who has strong ties to the environmental community and is committed to finding solutions to environmental issues that meet community needs.
Before working at Northeast Utilities, Miller was chairman of the environmental practice group of Cohn & Birnbaum, a law firm in Hartford; an energy/environmental lobbyist and director of the Environmental Policies Council for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association; and deputy counsel of the House Majority Office at the Connecticut General Assembly.
He also has taught environmental law and management as an adjunct faculty member at The Hartford Graduate Center.
He holds a bachelor's degree from Pennsylvania State University and a law degree from Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg, Fla.