Connecticut environmental protection commissioner resigns after investigation into links to oil spill


— A Connecticut environmental commissioner resigned Thursday amid a federal probe into whether the commissioner and a top deputy violated federal ethics rules by engaging in an improper relationship with a lobbyist for an oil company, according to his spokesman.

A spokesman for Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said the resignation came after an investigation by the Justice Department found that commissioner Julie M. Sullivan and her deputy, Kevin F. Cavanaugh, failed to register as lobbyists for the oil and gas company Chesapeake Energy Corp. The two are scheduled to appear in federal court in Manhattan on Jan. 19.

A statement released by the governor’s office said Sullivan and Cavanaugh “will continue to serve as commissioners of the state’s environmental protection agency.”

It was unclear whether the attorney general’s office or the Justice department would pursue criminal charges.

The state’s attorney general did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Malloy, a Democrat, appointed Sullivan and Favanaugh in May to the state environmental protection commission.

The attorney general said Sullivan was responsible for reviewing applications for permits and issued them within five days of being appointed, but the commission was dissolved in May after the investigation was completed.

Sullivan resigned from her post as commissioner in September.

Sullivan’s spokesman, Andrew Fagundes, said in an email to The Associated Press that he could not comment on the investigation but that the attorneygeneral’s office has not yet decided whether it will pursue criminal or civil charges.

Mackinac, a Republican, has made climate change a central part of his campaign and has pushed for a federal plan to address the issue.

Molloy, who was elected in 2014, has been critical of the president and his administration over the years.