Press Releases


December 13, 2022
For Immediate Release

(Washington, D.C.): The ACOEL Foundation is proud to announce its 2022-2023 Officers and Advisory Council members, all of whom are members of the American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL). Their leadership terms began on October 7, 2022, at ACOEL’s Annual Meeting, which was held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this year.

The Officers for 2022-2023 are: 

President – Virginia Robbins, Of Counsel and a former partner with Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC in Syracuse, was elected President. Ginny chaired Bond’s environmental and energy practice for 16 years. She advised clients on state and federal regulatory issues, particularly in the areas of air and water pollution control and solid waste management. Ginny served as Chair of the NYS Bar Association Environmental Law Section.  She is a co-chair of the Section’s Global Climate Change Committee. 

Vice President – Gail S. Port, recently retired, former head of the Environmental Group at Proskauer Rose LLP in New York City, was elected Vice President. With over 45 years of experience, her practice includes complex environmental, financing and capital market transactions, brownfield clean-ups, large Superfund and other remediation matters, land use developments, and complex environmental enforcement and compliance matters. Prior to her tenure at Proskauer, Gail was Deputy General Counsel and Acting General Counsel to the NYS Urban Development Corporation (now Empire State Development Corporation). She is a former chair of the NYC Bar Association Environmental Law Committee and the NYS Bar Association Environmental Law Section, a Vice-Chair of the New York League of Conservation Voters, and Chair of the Policy Committee of Audubon New York.

Treasurer – Molly Cagle, senior counsel with Baker Botts LLP in Austin, was elected Treasurer. Molly advises clients on a variety of environmental matters and represents them before various agencies and in federal and state courts. In the enforcement area, she has litigated and negotiated settlements for clients under the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and their state analogs, as well as Superfund. Molly has counseled on audit issues, under both the state audit law and federal policy.

Secretary – Amy L. Edwards, a partner with Holland & Knight LLP in Washington, D. C., was elected Secretary. She has been practicing environmental and energy law for 40 years. Amy co-chairs the national Environmental Team at Holland & Knight. She is a recent past Chair of the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (SEER), where she led the effort to adopt an updated climate change resolution in the ABA House of Delegates. She is a recognized national expert on brownfields redevelopment and institutional controls, having developed industry guidance (ASTM E2091) and leading publications in her field of expertise.

Immediate Past President – Allan Gates is a senior member of the Environmental Practice Group of Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard PLLC in Little Rock. He is also a Past President of ACOEL.

Vice Presidents for Development:

James Bruen worked in the Office of the General Counsel at the Federal Communications Commission’s Washington, D.C., headquarters. Between 1970 and 1977, he was a Criminal Division Assistant US Attorney (AUSA), then a Civil Division AUSA and finally Chief of the Civil Division in the Office of the US Attorney for the N.D. CA. Jim left to become an environmental counselor and trial lawyer, as well as a domestic/international product steward, in the San Francisco firms of Landels, Ripley & Diamond and Farella Braun + Martel. Jim is a Past President of ACOEL and of the ACOEL Foundation.

Peter Culp is a partner with Culp & Kelly, LLP in Phoenix. He is an expert in Western water law and water policy and has more than 20 years of experience working on a broad range of water law and policy, natural resources law and policy, U.S. environmental law, and federal Indian law matters. He represents a variety of municipalities, water agencies, industrial and energy concerns, developers, investment firms, and nonprofit organizations and foundations, and is a respected strategic advisor to clients facing the challenges of water and natural resource scarcity in the West.

Melinda Taylor is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Texas School of Law. She works closely with the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation on several energy and environmental initiatives. Melinda is former executive director of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law and Business.                     

The Advisory Council members for 2022-2023 are:

Pamela Giblin – Senior Policy Advisor of the Climate Leadership Council, Board Member of the Environmental Law Institute, former partner and head of the Environmental Practice Group at Baker Botts LLP, and a Past President of ACOEL.

J. Kevin Healy – Senior Counsel in the Energy, Environment, and Infrastructure Practice Group at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP.

Seth Jaffe – Partner and Coordinator of the Environmental Practice Group of Foley Hoag LLP and a Past President of ACOEL.

Debbie Mans – Partner in TWENTYTWENTY public affairs and most recently the Deputy Commissioner at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Michael Hockley – Partner in the Environmental and Energy Law practice of Spencer Fane LLP and the Immediate Past President of ACOEL.

Heidi Friedman – Partner in the Environmental and Product Liability practice groups at Thompson Hine LLP.

Kevin Murray – Environmental partner at Holland & Hart in the firm’s Salt Lake City office; Kevin is also President-Elect of ACOEL.                               

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The ACOEL Foundation is a 501(c)(3) affiliate of ACOEL organized to support ACOEL’s pro bono, educational and other charitable activities. The Officers and Advisory Council members of the ACOEL Foundation are all distinguished lawyers who practice in the field of environmental law and have been elected as Fellows of ACOEL based on recognition by their peers as preeminent in their field. The purposes of the ACOEL Foundation include the creation of a self-sustaining tax-exempt base of financial support for the charitable activities of ACOEL and the identification of opportunities that expand the involvement of ACOEL Fellows in projects designed to improve the environment, the administration of justice, or the ethical practice of environmental law. The Officers and Advisory Council members assume their posts on a voluntary basis and donate their time to assist the Foundation in operating efficiently and effectively.