Leslie Carothers was appointed a Visiting Scholar at the Institute in September 2014, following three years as Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at Pace Law School. Carothers has held legal and executive posts in government, business, and non-profit organizations over a forty-five year 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) the dynamics of decision making in government and business, 2) integration of environmental and sustainability objectives in organizational strategy and operations, 3) governance options for new materials and technologies, 4) the use of market-based tools and mechanisms like disclosure to motivate organizational performance, and 5) methods to strengthen communication about environmental 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 and Harvard Law School and holds a master’s degree in environmental law from George Washington University. 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 seminar on current challenges in environmental law at Pace Law School. During her time at Pace, she authored an article published in Berkeley’s ECOLOGY LAW QUARTERLY (41:683, 2014) on the precautionary principle as applied in the EPA decisions to regulate lead additives in 1973 and greenhouse gases from motor vehicles in 2009. Carothers has participated in a number of project committees of the National Academy of Sciences, most recently 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 and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.