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Environmental Governance

Center for State, Local, and Regional Environmental Programs

State and local agencies are continually grappling with environmental legislation and related policy, attempting to generate the most effective and efficient methods of protecting the environment. However, their struggles are often overlooked by efforts to support legal reform and improved environmental programs.

The Environmental Law Institute recognizes that state and local governments bear the primary responsibility for implementing and enforcing environmental protection laws. Since its inception in 1969, ELI has studied state programs, legal innovations, enforcement practices, and interrelationships with federal agencies. In 1986, funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, ELI founded the Center for State, Local, and Regional Environmental Programs to promote this important agenda. This unique approach highlights ELI’s in-depth knowledge of state, local, and regional environmental law and programs, and supports the growing need for guidance and analysis of these protection efforts.

The State Center addresses these issues by advancing two goals. First, we focus on creating stronger state, local, and regional environmental programs. Secondly, we seek to support the role of state and local governments in environmental management and enforcement.

ELI pursues the goals of the Center for State, Local, and Regional Environmental Programs, through a variety of activities, including:

  • Training — working with state and local agencies to      help them design, implement, and enforce their own environmental laws. In      an effort to build capacity and institutions, the State Center conducts      specialized training courses for officials at the state and local level.
  • Consultation — encouraging exchange of ideas among the      states, through day-to-day consulting and organizing meetings between      state officials and relevant experts. The State Center also provides      analytical services to assist states and localities in evaluating and      implementing environmental law and policy.
  • Survey and analysis of state programs — identifying      successful state initiatives, and analyzing their methods and      accomplishments. The State Center then provides this information to other      states and the federal government, allowing the sharing of ideas and      achievements among interested parties. 
  • Defining state-federal relationships — contributing to      the public policy debate on state-federal relations. The State Center is      often called upon by the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Environmental Protection      Agency, and the states to assist in building state-federal      relations. 
  • ELI also provides resources to the states through      several topical centers, including: the Brownfields      Center, Indoor Environments and Green Buildings Policy Resource      Center, and the State TMDL Program Resource Center.

The work of ELI’s State Center is closely alligned with the State Biodiversity Program, the Water Resource Management Program, the Water Quality Program, the Sustainable Use of Land Program, and the Indoor Environments and Green Building Programs.

Publications

Producing a wide range of publications to serve state agencies, the private bar, and the general public is central to the work of this program. These publications are a result of intense research and interpretation of data by experienced professionals at the Environmental Law Institute. They cover a variety of subjects pertinent to state, local, and regional issues. Please visit our Publications Page for a complete list.

Staff

John Pendergrass is the Director of the Center for State, Local, and Regional Environmental Programs.