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Environmental Law Institute Welcomes Six New Board Members

October 2018

(Washington, D.C.): The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) is delighted to announce the appointment of six new members to its Board of Directors: Rachel Jacobson, Rick Leahy, John Lovenburg, Peggy Otum, Hilary Tompkins, and Wei “Kevin” Wei. ELI’s Board includes environmental leaders from all sectors, including private law practice, corporate management, nongovernmental organizations, and academia.

“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 these renowned experts to advance ELI’s important mission of improving the environment though the effective rule of law,” added ELI Board Chair Benjamin F. Wilson.

  • Rachel Jacobson is special counsel with Wilmer Hale in Washington, D.C., where she advises clients facing complex challenges related to compliance with state and federal environmental laws, Superfund cleanup, natural resource damages, endangered species and wildlife management, land use, and energy development. A seasoned litigator, Ms. Jacobson has worked throughout her career with several federal agencies, states, and tribes on a range of issues, from oil spills and mining cleanup to water rights settlements. She has more than two decades of experience working in the federal government and has held senior positions at the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Defense.
  • Rick Leahy is Vice President of Environmental, Health, and Safety Compliance (EH&S) for Walmart. In this capacity, Mr. Leahy is responsible for the development and oversight of Environmental, Fire, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration Compliance programs in all U.S. business formats. He also serves as the Global Subject Matter Leader for Environmental. Prior to his current role, Mr. Leahy was Senior Associate General Counsel for environmental matters in the Corporate Legal department. Before joining Walmart in 2008, he was an attorney with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he managed environmental law groups in Atlanta, New York City, and Washington, D.C.
  • John Lovenburg is the Environmental Vice President for BNSF Railway. In this role, he leads a team of employees responsible for environmental strategy and communication, sustainability, permitting, compliance, remediation, hazardous materials, environmental litigation, and industrial wastewater. Mr. Lovenburg also has 20 years’ experience in environmental consulting with CH2M, most recently as Vice President, Global Site Remediation and Revitalization.
  • Peggy Otum is a partner in Arnold & Porter’s San Francisco office. Ms. Otum has experience in a wide range of environmental and product stewardship matters and has been lead counsel in representing corporate clients in complex litigation matters, including regulatory enforcement actions, cost recovery actions, toxic tort, and OSHA internal investigations and hearings. She also has experience advising clients on regulatory compliance with state and federal environmental laws and regulations; negotiating consent decrees and settlement agreements with state and federal regulators; advising clients on environmental due diligence for large-scale and single-parcel transactions, including providing environmental insurance and risk mitigation counseling; and representing clients in post-closing indemnity disputes.
  • Hilary C. Tompkins is a partner with HoganLovells in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the firm, she served in the presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed position of Solicitor for the U.S. Department of the Interior—the agency responsible for the management and conservation of public lands, natural and wildlife resource programs, and the trustee for Native American tribes. In that role, she led over 300 attorneys in 16 offices nationwide and acquired significant experience in onshore and offshore energy development (conventional and renewable), the administration of federal water projects, conservation and wildlife legal requirements, and public land law. Hilary is also well-versed in federal Indian law and is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation.
  • Wei “Kevin” Wei is Chairman and CEO of Bay Environmental Technology Corp. (Bayeco), a leading clean-tech company dedicated to combatting air pollution and climate change in China. Bayeco has been named as “Global Cleantech 100” in 2016-2018, and also won the “Asia Pacific Company of Year (2017)” award. Mr. Wei also serves as the chairman of the National Technology Center for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Control in China, which is the only national-level VOCs control technology center authorized by the China Ministry of Ecology and Environment. He is also vice president of the Chamber of Environmental Services of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce.

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