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Leslie Carothers

Visiting Scholar

Board dates

1989 - 1990
1991 - 1993
1994 - 1996
1997 - 2000
2001 - 2003

Leslie Carothers was appointed a Visiting Scholar at the Environmental Law Institute in September 2014.  Carothers has held legal and executive posts in government, business, and non-profit organizations over a long career in environmental protection and management.  She was President of ELI from 2003-2011. Her research and policy interests are informed by her experience in practice and include: 1) integration of environmental and sustainability objectives in business strategy and operations; 2) governance options for new materials and technologies; 3) the use of market-based tools and disclosure requirements to motivate organizational performance; and 4) methods to improve communication about environmental science issues and risks with non-expert audiences including the judiciary and the public.

She began her environmental career with the federal EPA in the air pollution program in Washington where she represented the agency in the development and defense of the agency’s first regulations to reduce the use of lead additives in gasoline. She later served as Enforcement Director and Deputy Regional Administrator of EPA’s New England Region and as Connecticut’s Commissioner of Environment from 1987-1991. In the business sector, she was chief environmental counsel for PPG industries in the early eighties and Vice President of Environment, Health, and Safety for United Technologies Corporation from 1991-2002.  

She is a graduate of Smith College, summa cum laude, Harvard Law School,  and George Washington University (LLM in environmental law). In 1991, she was an adjunct lecturer on environmental regulation at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and in 2011 taught an advanced environmental law seminar during her service as Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Pace Law School. While at Pace, she authored an article on the precautionary principle as applied in the EPA decisions to regulate lead additives in 1973 and greenhouse gases from motor vehicles in 2009.  It was published in Berkeley’s Ecology Law Quarterly  (41:683, 2014).

Carothers has participated in several committees of the National Academy of Sciences, including the Committee that produced the 2011 report Sustainability and the U.S. EPA.  She is a past member and chair of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Audubon Society and the Environmental Law Institute. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and the Board of Regents of the American College of Environmental Lawyers.