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The latest news and announcements from Mayor Lee

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Mayor Lee Appoints Deborah Raphael as SF Environment Director
After Extensive National Search, California Department of Toxic Substances Control Director Selected to Lead City’s Department of the Environment
Posted Date: 5/1/2014
Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced his appointment of Deborah Raphael as Director of the Department of Environment (SF Environment) where she worked previously for 12 years as the Program Director for Toxics Reduction and Green Building. Raphael has over 20 years of experience in environmental policy and government administration and most recently served as Director of the Department of Toxic Substances Control for the State of California. Raphael was selected after an extensive national search.

“Deborah Raphael is a proven leader who shares my commitment to extend San Francisco’s environmental leadership in a way that is inclusive of our diverse communities and builds on our innovation economy,” said Mayor Lee. “Her extensive knowledge and her ability to forge meaningful partnerships will help our communities adopt innovative sustainable practices so San Francisco remains the Greenest City in North America.”

As Director of SF Environment, Raphael will work with the City’s diverse residents and businesses to take an active role in protecting and enhancing their homes, businesses, and the urban environment. SF Environment develops innovative policies and practical environmental programs that promote social equity, protect human health, and lead the way toward a sustainable future.

Governor Edmund G. Brown appointed Raphael as the Director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) in May 2011. In her tenure with DTSC, Raphael was responsible for the protection of human health and the environment from the impacts of toxic chemicals and hazardous waste and led a department of over 1,000 employees in 9 offices with a $200 million annual budget. Raphael led the successful programmatic and financial transformation of DTSC and focused on innovation by reviving California’s efforts to protect consumers from toxic chemicals in everyday products through the Safer Consumer Products initiative.  

Raphael received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology/Plant Ecology from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master’s degree in Physiological Plant Ecology from the University of California at Los Angeles.

After college, Raphael worked at the Exploratorium in San Francisco for five years, where she was an exhibit designer in life sciences. She joined the City of Santa Monica as an environmental program manager before she joined SF Environment to provide leadership on groundbreaking programs that reduced the use of toxic chemicals and improved green building standards.