Center for State and Local Governance

The Center for State and Local Governance builds the capacity of local governments, NGOs, and other implementation partners to effectively address environmental and climate issues. 


State and local governments play a key role in implementing environmental protection laws and advancing climate change mitigation and adaptation. Achieving state and local environmental and climate policy goals, however, can be a daunting and resource-intensive task.


The Center supports state and local environmental programs by developing model governance tools and resources based on extensive best practices research. ELI also convenes decision-makers to workshop climate and waste policy solutions and leads educational programming to inform and engage the public. The Center’s tools and resources can be tailored to the needs and interests of a wide range of local and state contexts. 

Model Governance Tools



ELI and NRDC have developed model policies to make it easier for local governments to adopt environmental solutions. Based on extensive best practices research, these models provide legal language as well as background information and alternative approaches—all of which are intended to help guide stakeholders and policymakers in tailoring the policy to their unique circumstances. The latest model Pay-As-You-Throw ordinance helps cities reduce trash and increase recycling. Check out all model governance tools here

Our Current Initiatives

The Food Waste Initiative works with municipal staff and stakeholders to meet food loss and waste goals by designing and implementing public policies and public-private initiatives to prevent food waste, increase donations of surplus food, and expand food scrap recycling.

The Local Governmental Environment Assistance Network (LGEAN) a “first-stop shop” providing local governments with user-friendly information on compliance with federal environmental regulations, funding strategies, and tools for advancing healthy and sustainable communities. 

Related Initiatives

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

Meet the Team