Healey plucks AG aide as energy, environment secretary

Tepper served in similar role within attorney general's office

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

REBECCA TEPPER, currently the chief of the energy and environment bureau in the attorney general’s office, will continue working under Maura Healey in the new year, joining the incoming governor’s Cabinet as secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

As EEA secretary, Tepper will oversee the state’s six environmental, natural resource, and energy regulatory agencies, and oversee the Healey administration’s work to electrify buildings and transportation systems as part of an effort to keep Massachusetts on a path to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Tepper joined the attorney general’s office in 2015 as head of the energy and environment bureau’s energy and telecommunications division, then took over as the full bureau’s chief in early 2021.

In her current position, Tepper serves as Healey’s chief advisor on energy and environmental policy — a role that she will continue to fulfill as a cabinet secretary but with a much broader mandate. [In her current role, her focus is primarily on legal issues and in her new role the focus will shift to policy. In her current job in the attorney general’s office, she’s a behind-the-scenes player; in her new job, she will operate on a much bigger and more public stage.]

“In my time working with Rebecca, I’ve known her to be a strong leader who cares deeply about our environment and also understands the great opportunity before us to partner with our workforce and businesses to drive our clean energy revolution and preserve our beautiful natural resources,” Healey said in a statement. “She’s smart, experienced and committed to the cause, and I know that she will be a consensus builder and deliver the results we so urgently need.”

Tepper will work closely with Melissa Hoffer, who Healey and Lt. Gov.-elect Kim Driscoll tapped earlier this month to be the state’s first climate chief, to deliver on the state’s climate commitments.

The two climate and environmental policy leads will work toward cleaner and greener energy, while also putting their heads together on creating “a climate corridor of innovation, technology and investment across the state,” a press release from Healey’s team said.

Just last week, Gov. Charlie Baker’s outgoing administration laid out a new emission reduction plan for Healey’s incoming team that calls for all of the state’s more than 5 million light-duty vehicles to run on electric power instead of fossil fuels, 80 percent of Massachusetts homes to be heated and cooled with electric heat pumps, and the statewide electrical infrastructure to be able to handle more than double the current load, all by 2050.

The 2050 plan, which the Baker administration released on its way out the door of state government, seeks to formalize and expand a range of tactics already in play, leaning heavily on electrifying the transportation and building sectors and expanding clean energy sources such as offshore wind.

Meet the Author

Sam Drysdale

Reporter, State House News Service
As a state, Massachusetts has committed to achieving reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of 33 percent by 2025, 50 percent by 2030, 75 percent by 2040 and at least 85 percent by 2050, all compared to the baseline of 1990 emissions. Massachusetts was required to reduce carbon emissions by at least 25 percent from the 1990 baseline by 2020 and the Baker administration determined that 2020 emissions were actually 31.4 percent below the 1990 level.

Healey’s personal climate goals coming into office include achieving 100 percent clean electricity supply by 2030, a goal the Baker 2050 climate plan does not envision, and electrifying public transportation with clean power by 2040, according to her campaign page.

Before starting her work in AG Healey’s office, Tepper served four years as general counsel for the Department of Public Utilities regulating utility companies, and implementing and enforcing the state’s clean energy policies, according to her LinkedIn profile. As director of the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board from 2009 through 2011, Tepper adjudicated petitions to construct energy infrastructure such as transmission lines, gas pipelines, and electric generating facilities, her LinkedIn says.