The South Carolina Senate has unanimously appointed a Greenville attorney and former Duke Energy executive to run the state’s health and environmental agency.
The 39-0 vote on Thursday means Catherine Heigel can now take over as director of the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). One senator (State Sen. Gerald Malloy, D-Darlington) abstained from voting. The vote was one of the last taken in the Senate before their regular session ended on Thursday.
“I’m honored and grateful to be entrusted with leading an agency that oversees issues that are important to and impact the lives of all South Carolinians,” Heigel said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the members of the Board, DHEC’s talented staff and the citizens of this great state to uphold the agency’s mission to promote and protect the health of the public and the environment of South Carolina.”
The agency’s board, whose members are appointed by the governor, chose Heigel to be their nominee in April. Heigel will assume her duties immediately, according to a statement from the agency.
Heigel was president of Duke Energy’s South Carolina operations from March 2010 to June 2012 and recently worked as an attorney with the accounting firm Elliott Davis Decosimo in Greenville. Heigel enjoyed bipartisan support due to her environmental and business management background.
She has said she will resign positions on the board of state-owned power utility Santee Cooper and the South Carolina chapter of the Nature Conservancy. Heigel plans to commute to Columbia from her current home in Greenville.