Healey-Driscoll Administration Names Brizius New Coastal Zone Management Director

Special to the Independent

Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rebecca Tepper today announced Alison Brizius’s appointment to Assistant Secretary and Director of the Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM). CZM leads the state’s policy and planning on coastal and ocean issues. The Office’s mission is to balance the impact of human activities with the protection of coastal and marine resources through planning, public involvement, education, research, and sound resource management.

The Healey-Driscoll Administration recently launched the ResilientCoasts initiative, a holistic and proactive strategy to guide state and local coastal resiliency policy and action. Brizius will oversee this initiative as well as implement the state’s coastal programs under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act, ensuring environmental justice and equity is embedded into this work. She starts May 6.

“Our coastal communities are on the front lines of climate change, experiencing more frequent and significant storms, increased flooding and erosion, and rising sea levels. It’s important now more than ever to have a strong, bold, and innovative person leading CZM,” said EEA Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “The Healey-Driscoll Administration is taking a whole-of-government approach to protecting the state’s coastlines and adapting for the future. Alison Brizius is the perfect person to help us meet this moment. Her background and expertise demonstrate her ability to tackle challenging issues and prove she is the right person for the job.”

“I am honored to join the Healey-Driscoll Administration as they elevate the state’s focus on climate change. Our coastlines are a huge part of Massachusetts’ identity – it’s our culture, economy, and livelihood. Protecting our coastal environments and communities is a task I’m eager to take on,” added Brizius. “I’m excited to be joining such a talented team at CZM and am eager to work with them to enhance resilience, environmental justice and sustainability that will benefit Massachusetts for generations to come.”

Alison Brizius joins CZM from the City of Boston, where she previously served as Commissioner of Environment. In that role, she was responsible for leading the Department in addressing climate change impacts, such as achieving net zero emissions while protecting air, water, climate, and land resources, enhancing environmental justice, and improving Boston residents’ quality of life. Previously, Brizius was the city’s Director of Climate and Environmental Planning. Prior to that, she served as the Executive Director of the Center for Robust Decision-making on Climate and Energy Policy (RDCEP) at the University of Chicago, a multi-institutional interdisciplinary center founded to improve society’s ability to respond to climate change and energy supply challenges. She received her Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Chicago.

 Area officials offer the following statements of support:

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu

“As Massachusetts confronts the urgent challenges of climate change along our coastlines, Alison Brizius’ appointment as Assistant Secretary and Director of the Office of Coastal Zone Management marks a pivotal moment for the state. As the Environment Department Commissioner for the City of Boston, Alison’s steadfast commitment to environmental stewardship put us on track to be a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable city. We will miss Alison in City Hall, but know that her leadership in this role will benefit our city and the entire Commonwealth.”

Betsy Nicholson, North Regional Director, NOAA Office for Coastal Management

“I am thrilled to help welcome Alison to her new post as Assistant Secretary and CZM Director. She brings wholesale climate resilience experience with the City of Boston and a strong collaborative spirit that will be essential to partnering with NOAA and many others to bring innovative climate solutions to communities, infrastructure, and our coastal ecosystems. I look forward to serving alongside Alison and her talented and seasoned team at CZM.”

Amy Longsworth, Executive Director, Boston Green Ribbon Commission

“Protecting Boston’s 47 miles of coastline from the impacts of climate change is urgent; with the water at our door, we need a leader with courage who can think quickly, practically, holistically and innovatively. I think of no one better suited than Alison to lead this charge. She has a tremendous track record of getting complex things done, while deftly steering between the various points of view that hold things back. Her commitment to action-oriented resilience will ensure we build a safer and more equitable Boston, as well as other coastal communities. I look forward to continuing to work with Alison in her new role.”

Kathy Abbott, President and CEO, Boston Harbor Now

“With her extensive background in climate adaptation and resilience, coupled with her proven leadership in making real progress on coastal resilience in Boston, Alison is exceptionally qualified to join Secretary Tepper’s team and lead the Healey-Driscoll administration’s ResilientCoasts plan to drive comprehensive solutions for our coastal communities. Boston Harbor Now looks forward to working with Dr. Brizius and her team at CZM to ensure our region’s waterfront remains resilient, sustainable, and accessible for future generations.”

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