interior Committees & Projects banner image

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.

February 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!  Note International Pro Bono Committee Zoom meeting March 18, 2022 at noon PST, 1:00 pm MST, 2:00 pm CST; 3:00 pm EST – with guest Marc Yaggi, Executive Director of the (global) Waterkeepers Alliance. 

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 
  • 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 for all purposes unless other contact noted): 

  • 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 Nature Conservancy 
      • Evaluate state environmental liability frameworks for surface owners for oil/gas waste and contamination on lands TNC is considering purchasing. 
      • Train TNC lawyers and others on WOTUS – current litigation and administrative rules and prospects for the future. 
      • Train TNC lawyers specifically on California water rights. 
    • 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.  
    • Waterkeeper Alliance  
      • Present at a future Waterkeeper Alliance Summit on judicial, administrative, and legislative developments under the Clean Water Act affecting enforcement of the Act.
  • Be a Moot Court Judge:
    • Sign up to be a brief reader and moot court judge at the 12th annual WVU College of Law’s National Energy and Sustainability Moot Court Competition, March 2-5, 2022. Argument to be held remotely on Zoom. Briefs due for grading on February 22, 2022. RSVP here:

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 Initiatives 
  • David Farer – Cuba Initiatives 
  • Ginny Robbins – Africa Initiatives 
  • Tracy Hester – India Initiatives 
  • Mary Ellen Ternes – ESES and GCSE Initiatives – contact Jim Bruen for updates 

Zoom Committee Meetings and Initiative Updates  

  • PARTICIPATE – Friday, March 18th Committee Meeting with guest Marc Yaggi, Executive Director of (global) Waterkeepers Alliance.  
  • NOW: Contact Jim Bruen to Be Added To, Deleted From, Committee Membership List  
  • MEETINGS – three meetings each calendar year with featured speaker – TBD 
  • COMING – Waterkeeper: Live or Zoom Teaching at International Summits 
  • NOW: Peru – Educate Peru Public Prosecutor about Peruvian Coastal Oil Spill Response 
  • NOW: Africa (African Wildlife Foundation) – Develop training materials for wildlife prosecutors re African cybercrime 
  • NOW 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 – 
      • Use waste plastic to produce either very low-cost diesel fuel or very low- cost cooking oil depending on how ESES technology is configured by each user (exemplar conversion unit on display at upcoming Santa Fe Annual Meeting)  
      • Empower Ugandan women to develop income-producing work gathering waste plastic 
      • Work with ACOEL Foundation and ESES to use successful pilot project to increase use of waste plastic conversion technology in developing world 
      • Mary Ellen Ternes is Immediate Past-President of ACOEL and on the board of ESES  
  • SOONWaterkeeper: Additional Strategic Advisor Opportunities on Dam Projects  
  • SOON: Foundation Antonio Nunez 
    • Delegation to Discuss Environmental Law in Havana, 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, 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
  • SOON: Contribute your knowledge, learn other perspectives and help develop ACOEL EJ goal and projects.

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 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
Chair: Krista McIntrye

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…