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About the Environmental Law Institute

“I wanted to say to ELI, what a great partner you have been in bringing along all these lawyers that are part and parcel of what ELI stands for. I think that’s been a magnificent part of the building of the environmental movement. That’s where the rubber meets the road. I greatly appreciate what you folks have done.”
— John Adams, former President, Natural Resources Defense Council


The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) makes law work for people, places, and the planet.

ELI’s Vision is “a healthy environment, prosperous economies, and vibrant communities founded on the rule of law.”

ELI’s Mission is to foster innovative, just, and practical law and policy solutions to enable leaders across borders and sectors to make environmental, economic, and social progress. ELI:

  • Builds the skills and capacity of tomorrow’s leaders and institutions
  • Researches and analyzes complex and pressing environmental challenges
  • Promotes and disseminates the best thinking through print and electronic media
  • Convenes people with diverse perspectives to build understanding through robust debate
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Since 1969, ELI has played a pivotal role in shaping the fields of environmental law, policy, and management, domestically and abroad. We are an internationally recognized, non-partisan research and education center working to strengthen environmental protection by improving law and governance worldwide.

We deliver insightful and impartial analysis to opinion makers, including government officials, environmental and business leaders, academics, members of the environmental bar, and journalists. ELI is a clearinghouse and a town hall, providing common ground for debate on important environmental issues.

The Institute’s role takes many forms:

Developing Law and Policy: From drafting landmark ocean management regulations for Antigua and Barbuda, to helping rebuild the legal framework for forestry in Liberia in the wake of a civil war fueled by conflict timber, we work with our partners to create practical, implementable laws and policies, learning from the experiences of others but tailored to the circumstances and needs of the local communities.

Educating Professionals and the Public: Across the U.S. and the globe, we teach people about the law, procedures, their rights and strategies for change. We are training judges around the world on critical topics in domestic and international environmental law and informing communities dependent on the Gulf of Mexico on how to influence the restoration and recovery process. We educate thousands of environmental professionals each year in the United States, with the conviction that more skilled environmental professionals result in better environmental outcomes. The ultimate goal is to help people improve the implementation of environmental and natural resource law globally.

Providing Objective Data and Analysis: We fill voids in collective understanding and inform the most critical environmental decisions of the day, from comparing U.S. Government subsidies to fossil and renewable fuels, to researching and describing a path for transatlantic cooperation on the regulation of nanotechnologies. In order to ensure a better-informed dialogue through common sources of good information, we also make collections of hard-to-find resources accessible to everyone involved in some of the most significant environmental challenges. We publish cutting-edge authors and their proposals to innovate for better environmental law and policy solutions.

Convening Diverse Groups to Solve Problems: We put the right people in a room together with a clear objective, strong preparation, and quality facilitation. For example, we convene scientists and journalists to work through the challenges of reporting on climate change data and bring together state and local public health officials from across the country to identify solutions to indoor environmental quality problems. We convene professionals representing divergent perspectives on important policy questions to build bridges, foster common understanding, and explore areas of ultimate agreement.

The Institute is governed by a board of directors who represent a diverse mix of leaders within the environmental profession and others who support strengthening environmental law and policy. Support for the Institute comes from individuals, foundations, government, corporations, law firms, and other sources.

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