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Visiting Scholars Biographies

The Institute hosts environmental lawyers, practitioners, and scholars working on policy research projects aimed at domestic American environmental policy — national, regional or state — and at the international level and national level in other countries. Individual scholars are typically in residence at the Institute for periods of one to three months, with some staying for a year or more. The exchanges — many of which take place under the auspices of the ELI International Visiting Scholar Program — help to strengthen institutions help to strengthen institutions and stimulate intellectual activity across disciplines and borders. The program helps to build and sustain a growing network of environmental lawyers and related professionals dedicated to advancing environmental protection.

The Institute is pleased to introduce the current ELI Visiting Scholars. They are:

Visiting Scholars

Ruth Greenspan Bell

Ruth Greenspan Bell joined ELI as a Visiting Scholar in June 2013.  Bell is a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., and the co-leader (with Elke Weber of Columbia University) of a program to harvest insights from behavioral social science research to motivate a variety of behavior changes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and impact climate challenge. Her previous positions include Senior Fellow and Director of the US Climate Policy Objective at World Resources Institute (WRI); directing International Institutional Development and Environmental Assistance (IIDEA) at Resources for the Future (a program to build more effective systems of environmental protection globally, producing, for example, a highly acclaimed study of the policy process and changes –including the switch of all commercial vehicles from petrol and diesel to CNG -- that led to improvements in air quality in Delhi); Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs; and before that, various domestic management positions in U.S. EPA's Office of General Counsel. Bell publishes extensively about climate change and other environmental issues, addressing a wide range of policy and environmental audiences (Foreign Affairs, Issues in Science and Technology, Environmental Forum, Environmental Law Reporter, Environment, and Harvard International Review among them).  Bell is a graduate of UCLA and the School of Law of the University of California at Berkeley; serves on several boards (currently the International Senior Lawyers Project and The Mountain Institute) and is a long-standing member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Michael Curley

Michael Curley joined ELI as a Visiting Scholar in 2013.  He is a lawyer who has spent the majority of his career in project finance and the last 25 years in environmental project finance. He is the author of The Handbook of Project Finance for Water and Wastewater Systems, published by Times/Mirror and Finance Policy for Renewable Energy and a Sustainable Environment, which will be published by Taylor & Francis on March 27, 2014. He has also published over 40 articles, has contributed to the Huffington Post, and is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the National Press Club, where his sits on the Book & Author Committee.

In 1990, Mr. Curley was appointed to the Environmental Financial Advisory Board at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he served for 21 years under four Presidents. Over the last 20 years, he has taught environmental finance and law at the Johns Hopkins and George Washington Universities as well as Vermont Law School. He founded the Environmental Finance Centers at the University of Maryland, Syracuse University and Cleveland State University.

In the early 1980’s, he raised the venture capital for, founded, and served as president and CEO of the third financial guaranty insurance company in the world and the first to insure economic development projects.  He was also a partner in the New York City law firm of Shea & Gould.

Mr. Curley has also served in several roles in government. First, as Deputy Commissioner & General Counsel of the New York State Department of Economic Development; and then as President and CEO of the New York Job Development Authority (JDA), the State’s bank for economic development. He was also the General Counsel of the JDA and General Counsel of the New York State Science & Technology Foundation, the State’s venture capital agency. Prior to that, Mr. Curley served as Parliamentarian of the New York State Assembly and Associate Counsel to the Speaker and was also an Assistant to Congressman Richard D. McCarthy (D-NY) in Washington, DC. He also served as Adjunct Professor of Banking & Finance at New York University teaching Venture Capital and Capital Markets and was appointed to the Board of Directors of the United Nations Development Corporation by New York City Mayor Ed Koch.

For the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mr. Curley developed national municipal bond banks for water, wastewater, district heating and other municipal infrastructure for both the Russian Federation and Ukraine, designed a revolving fund for safe drinking water for the Ministry of the Environment in the Republic of Georgia and built fifteen rural water systems and developed the national model for rural water finance in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Carol Adaire Jones

Carol Adaire Jones joined ELI as Visiting Scholar in September 2014, following a 30-year career as an environmental economist in both government and academia. Across her career, two major areas of emphasis have been valuing natural resource damages for federal and state environmental litigation, and conducting research to inform the design of environmental and resource conservation policy.

At the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from 1990-1997, Carol oversaw valuation of the natural resource damage claims for 36 cases brought by NOAA as a trustee for coastal and marine resources, which recovered over $190 million in addition to the $1 billion Exxon Valdez settlement.  As lead economist on the Oil Pollution Act regulations-writing team, she was an architect of the innovative restoration-based framework to value ecosystem services in natural resource damage claims, widely adopted by federal, state and tribal natural resource trustees and the EU. She also coordinated the "Blue Ribbon Panel on Use of Contingent Valuation in Natural Resource Damages."

Serving in several positions at USDA’s Economic Research Service from 1999-2014, Carol provided leadership for award-winning USDA research that has made timely contributions to policy debates on farm, agri-conservation, climate change, environmental markets, R&D and technology, water quality, and rural health policies. She also served on the faculty of the international business school INCAE in Costa Rica during 1998-1999, and the University of Michigan (Economics Department and the School of Natural Resources) during 1984-1990, and as a Gilbert White Fellow at Resources for the Future (1988-1989).

Carol received her Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, her M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She has published extensively on various topics, including climate change mitigation in the agriculture/forestry sector, environmental trading, environmental certification, valuation of natural resources, and design of regulatory policies and enforcement. See her profile on ResearchGate to access her publications. 

Renee Martin-Nagle

Renee Martin-Nagle joined ELI as a Visiting Scholar in April 2011 after a 25-year career in aviation. From 1990 through January 2011 she served as Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary of Airbus Americas, where she managed all legal, compliance and environmental affairs, and from 1986 to 1990 she served as General Counsel of both Aerospatiale Helicopter Corporation (now American Eurocopter) and Aerospatiale General Aviation (SOCATA). During her career in aviation, Renee was active in industry and women's organizations, speaking frequently at conferences and serving on the boards of directors of Women in Aviation, the International Aviation Women's Association, the Aero Club of Washington and the American Bar Association Forum on Air and Space Law, which she also chaired from 2009 to 2011. The birth of her first grandson in April 2007 inspired her to dedicate the rest of her life to environmental causes, and that year she enrolled in the LL.M. program at George Washington University Law School, graduating in May 2010 with highest honors. Her thesis, which proposes that water in fossil aquifers be viewed as the common heritage of mankind, received the 2010 Jamie Grodsky Prize for Environmental Scholarship and was published by the Journal of Energy and Environmental Law. Currently Renee serves on the Council of Partners of ELI and on the boards of directors of the Chesapeake Legal Alliance and Omega Institute of Holistic Studies.

David Rejeski

David Rejeski directs the Science and Technology Innovation Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a non-partisan policy research institute in Washington, DC. The program's mission is to explore the scientific and technological frontier, stimulating discovery and bringing new tools to bear on public policy challenges that emerge as science advances.

He was a Visiting Fellow at Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Between 1994 and 2000, he served as an agency representative (from EPA) to the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Before moving to CEQ, he worked at the White House Office of Science and Technology (OSTP) on a variety of technology and R&D issues, including the development and implementation of the National Environmental Technology Strategy. Prior to working at OSTP, he was head of the Future Studies Unit at the Environmental Protection Agency.

He is the co-editor of the book: Environmentalism and the Technologies of Tomorrow: Shaping the Next Industrial Revolution, and has authored numerous articles for ELI's Environmental Forum on topics ranging from electronic commerce to nanotechnology.

David sits on the advisory boards of a number of organizations, including the National Science Foundation's Advisory Committee on Environmental Research and Education; the Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); the National Council of Advisors of the Center for the Study of the Presidency; the Journal of Industrial Ecology; and Games for Change. From 2004 to 2009, he was a member of EPA's Science Advisory Board. He has graduate degrees in public administration and environmental design from Harvard and Yale.

Bruce Rich

Bruce Rich is an attorney who has published extensively on the environment in developing countries and development in general. He is the author of a major critique and history of the World Bank (Mortgaging the Earth: The World Bank, Environmental Impoverishment, and the Crisis of Development, Beacon Press, 1994,1995) and was awarded the United Nations Global 500 Award for environmental achievement for his research and advocacy concerning international financial institutions. He worked for two and a half decades as an attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund, and has testified in numerous Congressional hearings on U.S. participation in international financial institutions. He has written numerous articles and opeds in publications such as The Nation, The Financial Times, The Ecologist, and The Environmental Forum, the policy journal of the Environmental Law Institute in Washington. His most recent book is "To Uphold the World: A Call for a New Global Ethic from Ancient India," with a Forward by Amartya Sen and an Afterword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Beacon Press, April, 2010. His professional focus on finance and ethics, as well as numerous visits to South Asia, helped inspire the writing of To Uphold the World. His current professional interests include climate finance and addressing corruption in international lending. He is also working on a new book on the World Bank (to be published by Beacon Press in 2012) and the environment.

Rich is an honors graduate of Yale College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Kirk Talbott

Kirk Talbott is a Visiting Scholar at ELI working on the Post Conflict Peacebuilding and Natural Resources Management initiative. He comes to ELI after more than twenty-five years of experience in international law and development in Asia and Africa in particular. After graduating from Yale college, working in a steel mill for six months and traveling around the world for a year, Mr. Talbott embarked on a career linking law, international development and natural resources management. He earned his J.D. and M.S.F.S. from Georgetown University Law Center and the Foreign Service School. He first worked at the International Law Institute on training programs in contract negotiation for developing country officials and then briefly practiced international human rights law. Talbott then spent almost ten years at the World Resources Institute working with USAID, the World Bank, and many other organizations on African Environmental Action Plans, community based property rights in Asia and other collaborative policy initiatives. He later worked with conservation organizations on biodiversity programs in Asia before heading a humanitarian organization, First Voice International. It provided satellite radio services to millions of remote people. He has advised several governments and international organizations in resource management, good governance, and results monitoring and evaluation. Kirk has served on several non-profit boards and published and taught widely in the fields of environmental security, international law and development and human rights.

Merideth Wright

ELI is pleased to welcome Judge Merideth Wright as our new Distinguished Judicial Scholar. Judge Wright will serve as a critically important addition to ELI’s judicial education program and, more broadly, to our rule of law efforts.

Judge Wright retired in 2011 as one of the two environmental judges for the State of Vermont. She had presided over the Vermont Environmental Court ( now known as the Environmental Division of the Vermont Superior Court)since its creation in 1990. A specialized court with jurisdiction over environmental enforcement cases as well as those involving state and local environmental and land use permitting decisions, the Court is the only judicial branch environmental court with state-wide jurisdiction in the country. Before her appointment to the bench, Judge Wright worked for nine years in the Environmental section of the Vermont Attorney General’s Office, and as a staff attorney for the Vermont Supreme Court. Before moving to Vermont in 1978, she worked for the U.S. EPA, for a small Washington, D.C. law firm, and for a prosecutor’s office. Judge Wright earned her J.D. degree in 1974 from the University of Chicago and her B.A. degree in 1971, magna cum laude, from Yale University, in an independent Environmental Studies major.

She has taught courses at the Vermont Law School, the University of Vermont, and Pace University School of Law, and has given presentations on judicial and environmental topics at international and U.S. conferences.

Most recently, she has worked with the U.S.-China Partnership for Environmental Law, together with U.S and Chinese judges and professors, on developing a curriculum for Chinese judicial education on environmental topics, and presented on specialized environmental courts at an international conference on environmental enforcement and compliance and at an international working symposium on environmental adjudication. She has been working internationally with judges and other environmental law scholars and professionals towards the development of a global institute for judges and the environment. Since 2003, Judge Wright has consulted with and given presentations to judges, lawyers, government officials, and legal scholars on topics relating to environmental judicial work and the rule of law, including in Jamaica, China, Australia, England, Scotland, Sweden, and France.

Tatiana R. Zaharchenko

Tatiana R. Zaharchenko was a Senior Staff Attorney and Advisor on the Eastern European Program at ELI in 1994-1995 and now splits her time between the US, Europe and Ukraine. Zaharchenko received her Ph.D. from the All-Union Research Institute of Comparative Law in Moscow (1988) and holds two other law degrees from Ukraine and the US. For twelve years, she was a tenured law professor at the Ukrainian Law Academy in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Concurrently, she served as Legal Counsel for the Ecological Commission of the Kharkiv Municipality. During perestroika, Dr. Zaharchenko became an outspoken academic introducing right to know, access to information and public participation into policy debate, legal writing and law drafting. In 1989, she was in the first group of 17 Soviet lawyers invited by the Soros Foundation and the American Bar Association for professional internships in the US. Upon her return to Ukraine, she published law reviews and newspaper articles and prepared course materials on US, comparative and international environmental law.

Since 1992, Dr. Zaharchenko has worked on the reform of legal systems, laws and polices in the post-socialist world. Transparency and accountability in environmental governance remain her primarily focus both as a scholar and a practitioner. Her areas of expertise also include regional seas, particularly the Caspian and the Black Sea, implementation of multilateral agreements, and approximation with EU environmental legislation.

In 1994, while with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Zaharchenko wrote the Russian-language Citizen Guide for Environmental Democracy in Russia, the first such publication in the post-Soviet region. In 1996-1999, as a senior program officer for the World Wildlife Fund (US), she was in charge of a USAID-financed project to promote biodiversity conservation in Ukraine. The resulting dual language book, Priority-Setting in Conservation: A New Approach for Crimea, documented a broad participatory policy shaping exercise and years later it continues to guide conservation efforts for this region. In 2009, her paper, On the Way to Transparency: a Comparative Study on Post-Soviet States and the Aarhus Convention, was published by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars where she was a Fellow.

Zaharchenko has assisted national governments, the European Commission, other multilateral and bilateral agencies such as UNECE, UNEP, the World Bank and the Danish Environmental Protection Agency on environmental projects and multilateral agreements. In 2007-2009, she was team leader for the EU-funded project "Environmental Collaboration for the Black Sea: Georgia, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine," helping to bring environmental laws and policies of participating countries closer to EU standards, improving regional cooperation and amending the Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution (the Bucharest Convention). Besides delivering 21 major regional and national policy documents developed through participatory processes, it brought the voices of the Black Sea region’s civil society to the attention of an international audience and national governments.  In 2011-2012, Zaharchenko was key legal expert for the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency on convergence of Ukrainian legislation with EU environmental laws in preparation for the signing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.

Dr. Zaharchenko is the author of and/or contributor to over 60 publications and reports, and is a frequent public speaker and invited guest lecturer internationally. She volunteers on boards of international environmental organizations and national NGOs in Europe and currently is a trustee for the Center of International Environmental Law (CIEL).