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Committees & Projects

ACOEL and its members are committed to improving the practice of environmental law and the administration of justice in the United States and elsewhere around the world. Together, we are working on a variety of projects both domestically and internationally. ACOEL’s activities are governed by a series of established task forces and internal committees described below. Read more


Annual Herrmann Legal Writing Award Competition

The Stephen E. Herrmann Environmental Writing Award is a prize presented to the author of a student article that best presents a current topic in the field of environmental law, judged for originality, quality of research, presentation and writing, and significance of contribution to the field of environmental law.

June 2022 Opportunities for Engagement

Highlights! See below new opportunity with the ACOEL Environmental Justice Work Group and sign up for the ESES Uganda Project Now! 

Needed: A Domestic Pro Bono Coordinator!  ACOEL is partnering with organizations that seek pro bono legal services on environmental topics.  Coordination of pro bono projects is separated into two committees: The Outreach Committee coordinates pro bono projects to be completed within the United States.  The International Pro Bono Committee coordinates pro bono projects to be completed internationally.  At this juncture, the Outreach Committee is seeking a volunteer (1) to help match new domestic pro bono projects with Fellows who volunteer for projects, and (2) to coordinate the new domestic pro bono program.  To get involved, please contact Krista McIntyre or Lynn Slade.

**Generally Interested in Volunteering for ACOEL Opportunities for Engagement

Send an email to Jen Norman ( to be placed on our volunteers’ list, and we will contact you when new opportunities arise.

Communication Committee


  • Sam Gutter, Sidley Austin LLP (Retired)
  • Kathy Beckett, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC


  • Participate in semi-monthly Conference Call, every other 4th Monday, 3-4:00 pm Eastern
  • Complete Fellow Profile on the new ACOEL website
  • Edit blogs submitted by Fellows
  • Assist with website updates
  • Collaborate with other Committees regarding blog, website and communication strategies

Education Committee


  • Tom Burack
  • Tracy Hester
  • Amy L. Edwards


  • Participate in monthly Conference Call, usually immediately before or after our monthly webinar
  • Help develop, build and promote monthly education webinars (Tom or Tracy)
    • Upcoming attractions:
      • February 25:  The New Hydrogen Economy (11:30-1:00 ET)
      • March:  Climate Change and Energy
      • April:  Environmental Justice and Permitting
      • May:  CERCLA
      • June:  Global Counsel for Science and Environment
  • Identify opportunities and areas of interest where ACOEL’s leadership can contribute, including new issues and potential partners (Tom, Tracy or Amy)
  • Following our initial  “Pivotal Moments in the Development of Environmental Law and Policy” with Gene Lucero and his spouse Marcia Williams about the early development of RCRA, CERCLA and other key federal initiatives, we are looking for your ideas about  future Pivotal Moments programs; please share your thoughts with Tom, Tracy and Amy.
  • Help us identify topics of interest to you (or where you might like to be a speaker) for programming in 2022.

Education Annual Meeting Subcommittee


  • President-Elect Ken Warren
  • Chair, Annual Meeting Steve Miano
  • Co-Chair, Annual Meeting Substantive Panels Jimmy May


  • Help Develop Annual Meeting Program Panels

Outreach and Domestic Pro Bono Committee

Leaders (contact to get involved)!

  • Krista McIntyre
  • Lynn Slade


  • Participate in monthly Conference Call, 2nd Tuesday, Noon to 1:00 pm Eastern
  • Mentoring and Diversity Outreach Program (MDOP):
    • Volunteer for our mentoring program for law students and early stage practicing lawyers. Members that express interest in mentoring on their ACOEL bio template will be matched with mentees as the program gets underway. 
    • Connect ACOEL to organizations representing communities of diverse law students and lawyers to cultivate a pipeline of diverse lawyers in our ACOEL practice areas. If you participate in an organization and are willing to facilitate coordination with the College, please provide information on these activities in the ACOEL bio template or contact one of the co-leads listed above. 
  • Environmental Justice Work Group:
    • Join the conversation and help design EJ programming for ACOEL. The Outreach Committee is leading a workgroup with the Education Committee and the NGO Committee to develop and share content with Fellows on this topic. Future activities may include panel presentations and blogs.
  • Biden-Harris Interview Series:
    • Provide suggestions for potential presentations or contacts with agency leaders.
  • Domestic Pro Bono Projects:
    • The Sabin Center for Climate Change
      • Draft laws that would implement recommendations for decarbonization at state and local levels; peer review drafts to help ensure quality.
      • Represent community groups and individuals who favor renewable energy projects in their communities but are facing local opposition.

Regional Activities Committee


  • Kathy Robb
  • Chris Thomas


  • Join periodic conference calls and emails within Committee and Regional Committees
  • Serve as Regional Co-Chair, help organize a meeting, moderate discussions, and attend regional gatherings

International Pro Bono Committee


  • Jim Bruen – Waterkeeper/Guam Initiatives
  • David Farer – Cuba Initiatives
  • Ginny Robbins – Africa Initiatives
  • Tracy Hester – India Initiatives
  • Mary Ellen Ternes


Zoom Committee Meetings and Initiative Updates 

  • TBD
  • NOW: Contact Jim Bruen to Be Added To, Deleted From, Committee Membership List 
  • MEETINGS – three meetings each year with featured speaker – Next Meeting TBD
  • POTENTIAL – Government of Guam
    • Teaching and Possible Mentoring:  Guam is host to Joint Region Marianas, comprised of Anderson Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam. These facilities have operated on Guam since World War II. Guam is concerned about environmental contamination from military activities and wants training and mentoring in the application of territorial and federal environmental laws to the Department of Defense.
  • NOW: Africa (African Wildlife Foundation) – Develop training materials for wildlife prosecutors re African cybercrime and assist AWF to arrange training of the Kenya Wildlife Service and local prosecutors by U.S. officials with respect to cybercrime detection.
  • NOW Empowered Solutions for Environmental Sustainability (formerly Engineers for Sustainable Energy Solutions) (ESES)/ACOEL Foundation/ACOEL joint project to:
    • Engage as Special Counsel to ESES in pilot project for Ugandan NGO to –
      • Work with ACOEL Foundation and ESES to use successful pilot project to increase use of waste plastic conversion technology in developing world
      • Working with Ugandan counsel, draft contracts between plastic waste process distributors and plastic waste process operators;
      • Help secure approval by the International Clean Cooking Alliance of the polyfuel as a superior alternative to LPG in cooking stoves
      • Empower Ugandan women to develop income-producing work gathering waste plastic
      • Mary Ellen Ternes is Immediate Past-President of ACOEL and on the board of ESES
  • SOONWaterkeeper: Waterkeeper Alliance is working on opportunities that it anticipates offering to Fellows over the next few months.  These include: 
    • The organization has developed a Clean Water Act “comparison tool” for Waterkeeper groups outside the U.S. to help determine how clean water laws in their respective countries stack up against the Clean Water Act, and to potentially identify improvements they can advocate for in their countries. There may be interesting opportunities to work with these global water advocacy groups – including in-country legal seminars – to help them utilize the comparison tool to identify “holes” in their laws and/or regulatory protections and to develop strategies to help strengthen those laws and regulations in countries around the globe.
    • Opportunities to assist Waterkeeper Alliance’s ongoing efforts with global partners to oppose and/or ban international offshore oil and gas extraction. This Waterkeeper Alliance initiative is currently most active in The Bahamas, where the Alliance is working with local groups through the Our Islands Our Future campaign. The Alliance is also currently ramping up significant grassroots efforts with Waterkeeper groups in Senegal, with more global advocacy to come. Assisting with these projects could potentially lead to opportunities for travel to the countries involved in the campaign.
    • Throughout the course of Waterkeeper Alliance’s next fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) and beyond there remain myriad opportunities to provide virtual webinar trainings to Waterkeeper Organizations around the world.  Webinar topics include climate change, dams, rights of nature, international environmental law, and more.     
  • SOON: Foundation Antonio Nunez
    • Regrouping with U.S.-based faculty that had been set to proceed with March 2020 ACOEL/FANJ joint seminar in Havana (postponed due to Covid),  to discuss potential reset of event relating to practice and implementation of environmental law in Cuba.
  • FILLED Global Council for Science and Environment (GCSE):
    • Collaborate with French counsel to develop analytical comparison of American and French environmental laws
  • FILLED: Waterkeeper – Advisory Counsel for Dam Project    
    • Save the Mekong River in Laos, working w Waterkeeper + local Thai affiliates
  • FILLED: Waterkeeper – Advisory Counsel for Dam Project
    • Save the Karnali River in Nepal, working w Waterkeeper + local Nepal affiliates
  • ADDITIONAL INTERNATIONAL PRO BONO OPPORTUNITIES likely to be announced during the coming year for Waterkeepers, ESES, Cuba, Kenya, Uganda and India.

NGO Committee


  • Dan Whittle
  • Jim Tripp


  • Email the EJ Work Group Leaders to join the new EJ Work Group (see below)

New! ACOEL Environmental Justice Work Group

Leaders from the Outreach, Education and NGO Committees respectively:

  • Mary Ellen Ternes
  • Smita Narula
  • Peggy Shepard


  • NOW: Email the EJ Work Group Leaders to join the Work Group
  • NOW: Contribute your knowledge, learn other perspectives and help develop ACOEL EJ goal and projects.  The Group is currently compiling Environmental Justice authorities and resources. Please email one of the co-chairs to share your EJ resources.

ACOEL Foundation Contribution

We have achieved momentum!  Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to our charitable Foundation at the website, or by check made payable to the ACOEL Foundation and sent to:

ACOEL Foundation
c/o Loretta Reinersmann
1730 M Street NW
Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036


ACOEL Environmental Justice Committee
Chair: Krista McIntrye

ACOEL’s Environmental Justice (EJ) Committee was created in 2022 in response to the refreshed emphasis on environmental justice in…

ACOEL NGO Committee
Chair: Daniel

The NGO committee provides a forum for Fellows working for non-governmental organizations, or in similar capacities serving the public…

ACOEL Education Committee

The Education Committee draws upon the unique expertise and capabilities of our Fellows to support, highlight and enhance the…

ACOEL Oral History Project

The American College of Environmental Lawyers was founded in 2007 and originally included 23 members, all in private practice….

ACOEL Sponsorship Committee

The ACOEL Sponsorship Committee is firmly committed to maintaining the membership and active involvement of all ACOEL fellows, a…

ACOEL Membership Committee
Chair: Lisa Goodheart

The Membership Committee is charged with building the foundation for a vibrant and diverse College. Through a nomination and…

ACOEL Regional Committee
Chair: Kathy

The focus of the new Regional Committee is to promote Regional ACOEL meetings and activities, to increase the visibility…

ACOEL Communications Committee

The Communications Committee oversees the ACOEL blog program by soliciting blogs on current topics and editing the blogs for…

ACOEL Outreach Committee

Welcome to the ACOEL Outreach Committee web page. Thank you for your interest in our work and opportunities to…

ACOEL International Pro Bono Committee
Chair: James Bruen

The mission of the International Pro Bono Committee is to (a) identify deserving non-US environmental groups underserved by the…