The Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) - formerly the District Department of the Environment - serves as an agency within the Executive Branch of the District of Columbia (DC) government in the United States to consolidate the administration and oversight of environmental and energy programs, services, laws, and regulations. Under the authority of [DC Law 16-51], DOEE was formed through a merger of the DC Government's Environmental Health Administration, the DC Energy Office, policy functions of the Tree Management Administration and policy functions of the Office of Recycling.
DOEE is a "one-stop shop" for programs and services that protect human health and the environment and address energy efficiency issues for all sectors of the city. DOEE programs are designed to facilitate cleaner air and water, green our neighborhoods and building space, and assist with the management of hazardous and toxic waste disposal. Additionally, DOEE conducts community and educational outreach to increase public awareness of environmental and energy related issues.
The Mission of the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) is to protect and restore the environment, conserve natural resources, provide energy related policy, planning, direct services, and improve the quality of life in the District of Columbia.
As the nation's capital city, the District will become the model of environmental protection and sustainable environmental practices. In partnership with other District agencies, the Federal government, business groups, non-profit organizations, and residents, the Department of Energy and Environment will help instill environmental awareness through innovation and best practices.
Tommy Wells is the director of the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE). Appointed January 2015, he is chiefly responsible for protecting the environment and conserving the natural resources of the District of Columbia. Tommy’s team is composed of approximately 300 environmental professionals collectively working to improve the quality of life for residents and the natural inhabitants of the Nation’s Capital.
Most recently, Tommy served as the DC Council member representing Ward 6—a position he held since 2006. During his time on Council, he garnered broad support for his efforts to make the District livable and walkable for all. Tommy worked with the City’s leadership and, in particular, residents of Ward 6 to create a shared and respected place where drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and exercise enthusiasts can co-exist safely. Known for his neighborhood-focused development, Tommy championed efforts to ensure availability of public transit, including the construction of new streetcar lines and the expansion of the DC Circulator. As Chair of the DC Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment, he worked to double the city’s Capital Bikeshare program.
In 2009, Tommy crafted The Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Act of 2009, to implement $0.05 fee on disposable bags. This landmark legislation prompted thousands of District residents to curb use of plastic bags and instead opt for reusable, green alternatives. Seventy-five percent of DC residents reported a decrease in their use of disposable bags once the bill took effect on January 1, 2010. The legislation also established a fund to restore District water bodies, including the Anacostia River; support the distribution of reusable bags in the District; install trash traps; and provide environmental education for District students. These and other efforts, championed by Tommy, have helped position the District as a model for sustainable green living for jurisdictions nationwide.
With a career in public service that spans 32 years, Tommy’s commitment to District residents—particularly children—is unwavering. In 1996, he led a successful class action lawsuit, LaShawn v. Barry, to address the city’s failure to protect children in its care. In 1991, he took the helm of the DC Consortium for Child Welfare, where he helped to create neighborhood-based family service collaboratives to coordinate the delivery of city and nonprofit resources to underserved District residents. He was the architect of a groundbreaking program to match foster families with children affected by HIV/AIDS and he led the drive to create the DC Family Court,–resulting in a 300 percent increase in the number of foster children adopted into permanent homes each year.
A passionate innovator and student of cutting edge solutions, Tommy earned his law degree from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University in 1991 and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota in 1983. He and his wife, Barbara, a writer and arts enthusiast, are residents of Ward 6 in the District.