Gov. Cooper nominates former DEQ lobbyist Elizabeth Biser to lead agency

Elizabeth Biser

Elizabeth Biser, who previously served as the director of Legislative and Government Affairs for the NC Department of Environmental Quality, is the governor’s new nominee to lead the agency.

Biser also worked as a government relations policy advisor at the law firm Brooks Pierce, where former DEQ Secretary Bill Ross works. There, she successfully lobbied for the $78 million Connect NC bond package for state and local parks.

She also lobbied for North Carolina Forever, which includes not only the Environmental Defense Fund, NC coastal Federation, but also Smithfield Foods and the NC Farm Bureau.

She also served as vice president of policy and public affairs for the Recycling Partnership; she also ran her own environmental consulting business.

Gov. Cooper had originally nominated Dionne Delli-Gatti, but Senate leaders tanked her confirmation, allegedly because she was unfamiliar with the proposed MVP Southgate natural gas pipeline, which would route 50 miles through Rockingham and Alamance counties.

However, behind the scenes, it appeared that supporters of that project, including Sens. Paul Newton and Chuck Edwards, worked to derail there nomination. Given Biser’s previous work with agribusiness, her nomination might be more palatable to conservative lawmakers.

David Kelly, director of public affairs for Environmental Defense Fund, issued a statement in support of Biser. He characterized her as a “woman who has spent her career advancing smart environmental and natural resource policy. Through her policy expertise and strong network throughout the business community,Elizabeth possesses the right mix of experience, knowledge and relationships to serve as an effective leader” of DEQ.

Like Delli-Gatti, if confirmed, Biser would be the first woman to lead the agency.

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