ELI Welcomes Six New Board Members; New Board Includes More Women Than Men in an Already Diverse Board

December 2021

(Washington, D.C.): The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) is delighted to announce the appointment of six new members to its Board of Directors: Marisa Buchanan, Granta Nakayama, Manisha Patel, Margaret Peloso, Davina Pujari, and Ethan Shenkman. ELI’s Board includes environmental leaders from all sectors, including private law practice, corporate management, nongovernmental organizations, and academia. With this newest class of board members, ELI has for the first time more women than men serving on its board, with 21 women and 18 men. This class also represents further progress toward ELI’s goal of having one of the most racially diverse boards in the environmental field.

“Uniting diverse interests is a strength of ELI, and these distinguished individuals will bring a wealth of experience, energy, and new perspectives to the ELI Board of Directors,” said ELI President Scott Fulton. “I look forward to working with our newest members to advance ELI’s important mission of improving the environment through the effective rule of law,” added ELI Board Chair Benjamin F. Wilson.

  • Marisa Buchanan is Managing Director, Global Head of Sustainability, at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Washington, D.C., where she leads development and implementation of the firm’s sustainability strategy across its financing activities and operations. She’s played an integral role in formulating JPMorgan Chase’s sustainability initiatives and commitments, including the firm’s Paris-aligned financing commitment and $2.5 trillion sustainable development target. She has also built the firm’s knowledge and leadership on climate change and carbon disclosure, and leads the firm’s efforts on ESG reporting, stakeholder and policy engagement, and sustainability grantmaking. Marisa joined JPMorgan Chase in 2012 from Bloomberg, where she conducted analysis on the impacts of U.S. policy developments on the electric power and oil and gas sectors. She has also developed renewable energy and methane reduction projects with Verdeo Group and Econergy International. Marisa received a B.A. from Wellesley College and an M.P.A. from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
  • Granta Nakayama is a Partner with King & Spalding LLP in Washington, D.C, where he is a member of the firm’s tort and environmental practice. Granta also brings more than a decade of experience as a practicing engineer and technical manager to the firm’s highly regarded energy practice. Prior to joining the firm, Granta served as the Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, a 3,400-employee, $560-million national enforcement and compliance program for air, water, waste, toxic chemicals, and pesticides located at more than 40 facilities across the nation. Under his tenure, EPA achieved record annual pollutant reductions (over 3 billion pounds) and injunctive relief (over $11 billion). Prior to his legal career, Granta served for more than a decade as an engineer and manager responsible for quality control operations in the U.S. Navy’s nuclear service. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the George Mason University School of Law.
  • Manisha Patel is Vice President, Environmental Process and Policy, at WSP USA in St. Louis, Missouri, where she provides strategic advice on how to position infrastructure projects for accelerated environmental reviews and permitting approvals under the National Environmental Policy Act and related environmental regulations. Prior to joining WSP, Manisha served as the deputy general counsel for the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) within the Executive Office of the President. She also served as the deputy associate director for regulatory policy at CEQ, working closely with federal agencies, state and local governments, stakeholders, and other White House offices to develop policies and initiatives that advanced the president’s environmental, natural resources, and energy agenda. She played an integral role in the drafting and implementation of key environmental provisions of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act and the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act. Manisha is a graduate of Northwestern University and the Georgetown University Law Center.
  • Margaret Peloso is a Partner with Vinson & Elkins in Washington, D.C., where she focuses her practice on climate change risk management and environmental litigation and advises energy companies, financial institutions, and funds on climate risk analysis and disclosure. A significant component of Margaret’s practice also includes translational science. She advises clients on a broad range of litigation and regulatory matters in which there are significant scientific or technical issues that require the use of outside experts. Prior to joining Vinson & Elkins, Margaret completed her Ph.D. in environment at Duke University, where she wrote her doctoral dissertation on legal and policy issues associated with sea-level rise adaptation. Margaret frequently authors articles on climate change, environmental law, and environmental shareholder activism, including a published book titled Adapting to Rising Sea Levels: Legal Challenges and Opportunities. Margaret is also an Adjunct Lecturer in Law at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School.
  • Davina Pujari is a Partner with Hanson Bridgett LLP in San Francisco, where she co-chairs the Environment and Natural Resources Group. Davina’s practice focuses on the defense of environmental enforcement actions and prosecutions, environmental litigation against the government and between companies, allocation of environmental costs, and internal investigations. Davina also handles cases before arbitrators, administrative judges, regulatory agencies, and mediators. Davina began her legal career at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Office of Enforcement, filing enforcement actions and developing nationwide enforcement policies and priorities. Davina also served as a Senior Assistant DA with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, investigating and prosecuting environmental and white collar cases involving the illegal disposal of hazardous waste, water pollution, false statements and reports, and obstruction of justice. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of California, Davina investigated and prosecuted environmental cases under the Lacey Act, Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, and other federal environmental laws. She is a graduate of North Carolina State University and Lewis & Clark Law School.
  • Ethan Shenkman is a Partner with Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP in Washington, D.C., bringing more than 16 years of government experience to bear on his wide-ranging environmental practice, which includes representing clients in trial court and appellate matters, and in regulatory matters before federal and state agencies. He is nationally known for his work with climate change policy and regulation, counseling clients on cutting-edge issues such as renewable fuels, carbon capture and sequestration, methane regulation, the phaseout of HFCs, renewable energy permitting, as well as NEPA and other climate-related litigation. His government experience includes serving for seven years as a political appointee in the Barack Obama Administration, most recently as Deputy General Counsel at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and, prior to that, as Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice's Environment and Natural Resources Division. He also served as a career attorney and litigator at DOJ for nine years. Ethan teaches environmental law at the Georgetown University Law Center and is a featured columnist on private practice and public policy for The Environmental Forum. Ethan is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Virginia Law Review.

For more information about ELI’s Board of Directors, visit https://www.eli.org/board-of-directors.