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Bar News - November 17, 2006

Burack Becomes Environmental Commissioner

Thomas Burack was sworn in Nov. 1 as Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Services. He pledged to balance economic development and environmental protection in New Hampshire.

Burack, a partner in the Manchester law firm of Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green, was Gov. John Lynch’s nominee to replace former commissioner Michael Nolin. Burack’s nomination became controversial as Nolin fought for another term as commissioner and originally had support from the majority of the Executive Council. However, Nolin announced in August he would step aside. He will stay on as an adviser through the end of the year to assist with the transition.


Lynch praised Burack before swearing him in, calling him the “perfect” person for the job.


Burack said he will be leaving his former law firm, where he practiced environmental, real estate and corporate law. Burack’s former firm represented Bioenergy Inc., which proposed building a plant in Hopkinton, and recently won a state Supreme Court case against the town, which had prohibited the burning of woodchips from construction and demolition as fuel for energy. The high court ruled the state’s authority over air emissions superseded the town’s. Burack did not work on the  case.

Lynch signed legislation in May extending a moratorium on burning construction and demolition debris in the state.


Burack is a former legal counsel to the state Republican Party. He is also currently chair of the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Authority, and served as a member and chairman of the commission that recommended the creation of the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program.



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