Department of the Environment

The Maryland Department of the Environment protects and preserves the state's air, water and land resources and safeguards the environmental health of Maryland's citizens. MDE's duties also encompass enforcement of environmental laws and regulations, long-term planning and research. MDE provides technical assistance to Maryland industry and communities for pollution and growth issues and environmental emergencies. The department’s mission is to protect and restore the environment for the health and well-being of all Marylanders.

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Serena C. McIlwain


Secretary McIlwain leads the Department and the work of its Air and Radiation, Land and Materials, Water and Science, and Operational Services administrations, along with the Office of Budget and Infrastructure Financing and Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response, among other units. She is a member of the Governor’s Council on the Chesapeake Bay and the Governor’s sub cabinets on Commerce, International Affairs, Infrastructure, and Smart Growth. She chairs the Maryland Commission on Climate Change.

She comes to the Department with extensive experience in organizational and performance improvement and environmental protection, energy and environmental justice policy. She was the Under Secretary at the California Environmental Protection Agency. A native of the Washington Metro area, she also worked for the federal government as a Senior Executive for numerous Executive Branch agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as Assistant Regional Administrator for Region 9 in San Francisco, Performance Improvement Officer and Director of Continuous Improvement at U.S. EPA Headquarters, and Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy. Secretary McIlwain received a Master of Public Administration from George Mason University and a Master’s degree in Administration & International studies from Central Michigan University.​​