Richard Sullivan, first DEP commissioner, dies at 86

Richard J. Sullivan, who served as New Jersey’s first Department of Environmental Protection commissioner in 1970, has passed away.  He was 86.

Sullivan, who ran DEP until 1974, also chaired the Pinelands Commission and oversaw the Green Acres Bond Act in 1972. He also worked to establish Liberty State Park.

“As the state’s first DEP Commissioner he pioneered many of New Jersey’s most important state environmental programs. Many of these programs were national models picked up by many states and even the federal government later,” said N.J. Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel in a release mourning Mr. Sullivan’s passing.

“Richard Sullivan was one of New Jersey’s leading advocates for environmental protection, his career in public service coinciding with the birth and growth of the environmental movement,” said Department of Environmental Protection  Commissioner Bob Martin. “He truly embodied what is good and noble about public service, and leaves a legacy that is still evident here at the DEP and across the state in the places from north to south that have been protected as a result of his love for the environment.”

“Richard represented the epitome of what every public servant should strive to be – a man of immense  integrity, with a sense of fairness, and a focused commitment on devising and implementing the best public policies for New Jersey’s natural and cultural resources,” said Terrence D. Moore, the Pinelands Commission’s first Executive Director, serving from 1979 to 1999.

Mr. Sullivan passed away on Tuesday.

Richard Sullivan, first DEP commissioner, dies at 86