Outgoing Connecticut DEEP
Commissioner Comes Back to F&ES

Robert Klee, who spent nearly a decade in the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) — becoming commissioner in 2015 — this semester will return to F&ES, where he earned his master's degree and Ph.D.
When Robert Klee M.E.S. ’99, J.D. ’04, Ph.D.’05 returned to the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies for Alumni Weekend in October 2018, he did so to give the keynote address to his fellow graduates, focusing on the role of state and local governments in environmental protection in the absence of leadership at the federal level.
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Robert Klee
His address sparked a conversation with Dean Indy Burke on the subject, which ultimately has led to a more permanent campus visit for Klee. This semester, Klee, the former commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), will be teaching a capstone course, “Sub-national playbook for significant greenhouse gas reductions by 2030,” aimed at developing strategies for states, municipalities, and corporations to combat global warming.
The class will be separated into teams that will develop “a policy playbook” for hypothetical policymakers and business leaders in five key areas: electricity, buildings, transportation, materials management, and natural and working lands. The teams will analyze everything from potential costs, additional benefits, feasibility of implementation, conflicting policies and legal obstacles, environmental justice and equity, and communication strategies.
In addition to teaching at F&ES, Klee will teach an undergraduate course in Yale College’s Environmental Studies program. The course, “Energy and environmental policy solutions for the Anthropocene,” will teach students innovative energy and environmental policy solutions to address challenges of the Anthropocene — the current geological epoch typified by human dominance of the earth.
Klee said he is “thrilled and humbled” by the opportunity to share his expertise in environmental protection, policy, and law.
“I’ve certainly taken a non-traditional path into teaching,” said Klee, who has also been a guest lecturer at Trinity College and the University of Connecticut. “But I think it gives me an advantage — I can show students interested in careers that combine sustainability with politics or business what that looks like in practice.”
Klee began working at the Connecticut DEEP in 2011 as chief of staff, before being appointed commissioner in 2014, replacing current F&ES faculty member Daniel Esty. The DEEP is tasked with overseeing the state’s natural resources and environment, outdoor recreation areas, and alternative energy efforts in public utilities and energy policy.
Prior to working at the DEEP, Klee served as a research associate at the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy (YCELP) and the Yale Center for Industrial Ecology from 2006 to 2008. He was also a law clerk for both the U.S. District Court in Connecticut and the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and practiced law at Wiggin and Dana, LLP in New Haven.
Klee will be replaced as commissioner by Katie Dykes ’99 B.A., ’06 J.D., chair of Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.
– Josh Anusewicz    joshua.anusewicz@yale.edu    203 436-8994
PUBLISHED: January 14, 2019
Note: Yale School of the Environment (YSE) was formerly known as the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). News articles posted prior to July 1, 2020, refer to the School's name at that time.