Center for State and Local 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.

ELI’s Center for State and Local Environmental Programs initiatives include the Municipal Climate and Waste Reduction Initiative and the Local Governmental Environment Assistance Network (LGEAN), among other programs.

The work of ELI’s Center for State and Local Environmental Programs is closely aligned with the State and Federal Biodiversity Program, the Water Resource Management Program, the Water Quality Program, the Sustainable Use of Land Program, the Arctic Program, the Gulf of Mexico Program, the Indoor Environments and Green Building Program, and the Brownfields Program.


Local Government Environmental Assistance Network

Check out LGEAN’s new guidance and resources for local governments seeking to comply with federal environmental regulations on Solid Waste, Outdoor Air and Lead.

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Center Activities

  • 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 Center conducts specialized training courses for officials at the state and local levels.
  • Consultation — encouraging exchange of ideas among the states, through day-to-day consulting and organizing meetings between state officials and relevant experts. The 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 Center then provides this information to other states and the federal government, allowing the sharing of ideas and achievements among interested parties.
  • Defining relationships between different levels of government — contributing to the public policy debate on relations between federal, state, and local governments. The 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 states and municipalities through several topical centers, including the Indoor Environments and Green Buildings Policy Resource Center and the CWA 303(d) Program Resource Center.


Producing a wide range of publications to serve state and local 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 and local issues. Please visit our Publications Page for a complete list.


Linda Breggin is the Director of the Center for State and Local Environmental Programs.

Ella Stack is a Research Associate supporting the Local Government Environmental Assistance Network.

Sarah Backer is a Research Associate supporting the Center for State and Local Environmental Programs.