Department of Environmental Services head steps down after 10 years

Monitor staff
Published: 11/2/2016 12:17:21 AM

Hopkinton resident Tom Burack is stepping down as head of the state Department of Environmental Services, which he has led since 2006. 

Burack announced his resignation on Tuesday. He will depart in the next few months, but declined to name an exact end date or say what he is doing next. 

“I have decided for me 10 years is the right length of time to serve in this role,” Burack said. 

The next governor will name his replacement, but Assistant Commissioner Clark Freise will lead the department in the interim. 

Burack made public his intention to step down before next week’s election to avoid any perception his decision was based on the outcome. Republican Chris Sununu and Democrat Colin Van Ostern are vying to replace Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, who is running for U.S. Senate.

Burack was tapped to lead the department in 2006 by then-Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat. Under his leadership, the department oversaw the state’s entrance into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multi-state pact that aims to reduce carbon emissions. More recently, the department has tested wells for PFOA contaminants and worked to connect residents with clean water sources.

“We have built a high integrity, high performance, high moral organization,” Burack said. “We recognize public health is at the core of what we do as an environmental protection agency.”

The Department of Environmental Services was formed in 1987 and is charged with managing water resources, regulating pollution, overseeing waste management and ensuring water quality.

Burack hasn’t determined his next step, but said he is considering a number of opportunities. Before joining the department, Burack was an attorney in private practice.

Hassan commended Burack’s performance in a statement.

“New Hampshire and our country have benefited enormously from Tom’s vision, energy and leadership, and it will be difficult to see him depart,” she said. “He has built a strong management team that will ensure a continuation of the department’s important work after he leaves, and I wish him all the best in the future.”

(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or

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