Jose Font was named Wednesday to head up the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Caribbean Environmental Protection Division. In this position, he will have oversight over the agency’s offices in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Croix.
“I am so pleased to have selected Jose Font, who is truly dedicated to protecting the people and environment in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck said in a press release.
“Jose is a remarkable person who has demonstrated that he can work with federal, commonwealth, territory and local governments to work out some of the tough environmental challenges that face the Caribbean.”
Enck said Font will be working on a range of issues, including recycling, improving water quality and “cleaning up Vieques.”
Font has served as acting director since the former director, Carl Soderberg, departed in February to work with the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority.
Font served as deputy director of the Caribbean Environmental Protection Division since February 1997.
He started his career with EPA in July 1984 as a project manager in the Superfund program working in the EPA’s New York City office. As a project manager, he was responsible for the assessment and remediation of Superfund sites in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
In March 1987, he transferred to the EPA’s Caribbean Field Office where he worked both in the Superfund and enforcement programs.
Since 2000, he served as an adjunct professor at the Universidad Del Turabo and at the Metropolitan University in Puerto Rico, where he teaches graduate environmental courses. Font has also been a member of the External Advisory Board for the Civil Engineering Department of Universidad Politecnica de Puerto Rico.
“He’s familiar with all the issues,” EPA spokesman Mary Mears said.
Font has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from University of Puerto Rico and a master’s degree in business administration from Universidad del Turabo.
The Puerto Rico office serves as the primary liaison on environmental issues and problems with Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands governments as well as with the press, community groups, and regulated industries and authorities.
According to the press release, the Caribbean Environmental Protection Division comprises about 60 people who conduct inspections, develop enforcement actions and implement clean water, air, Superfund, hazardous waste, toxics, and other EPA programs in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.