Rena Steinzor is the Edward M. Robertson Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, and a past president of the Center for Progressive Reform. She is the author of Why Not Jail? Industrial Catastrophes, Corporate Malfeasance, and Government Inaction.
Professor Steinzor has taught an environmental law survey course, seminars in risk assessments and critical issues in environmental law and science, administrative law, contracts, torts and counseling and negotiation. She has written in the areas of (1) regulatory dysfunction in agencies assigned to protect public health, worker and consumer safety, and the environment; (2) the role of centralized White House review on the protectiveness of regulation; (3) environmental federalism, including so-called "unfunded mandates" imposed on state and local governments by the federal government and the impact on public health of devolving authority and responsibility for solving environmental problems; (4) the implications of industry self-regulation on the protection of the environment and human health; (5) "market-based" alternatives to traditional regulation; and (6) political interference with regulatory science.
She is the editor, with Christopher Schroeder, of the CPR-sponsored book A New Progressive Agenda for Public Health and the Environment, published by Carolina Academic Press. She is also the editor, with Wendy Wagner, of the book Rescuing Science from Politics, published by Cambridge University Press in 2006. Her book, Mother Earth and Uncle Sam: How Pollution and Hollow Government Hurt Our Kids was published by the University of Texas Press in December 2007. With Professor Sidney Shapiro of Wake Forest Law School, she co-authored The People’s Agents and the Battle to Protect the American Public: Special Interests, Government, and Threats to Health, Safety, and the Environment published by the University of Chicago Press in 2010.
Professor Steinzor began her legal career in 1976, and entered academia in January 1994. From 1987 through 1993, she was associated - first as "of counsel" and ultimately as the partner in charge of the environmental practice - at Spiegel & McDiarmid, a 45-lawyer, Washington, D.C. firm representing approximately 400 cities, counties, states, and public agencies in the energy, environmental, communications, and transportation fields. The practice counseled federal, state, and municipal clients regarding compliance with federal and state laws and regulations.
Prior to joining Spiegel & McDiarmid, Professor Steinzor served as Staff Counsel, Subcommittee on Commerce, Transportation, and Tourism of the Energy and Commerce Committee, U.S. House of Representatives (James J. Florio, Chairman). She was the primary staff person responsible for legislation that became the "Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986" (Public Law 99-499) and the "Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act" (Public Law 99-519). She also prepared legislation to reauthorize the Toxic Substances Control Act during the 98th Congress.
Professor Steinzor has testified before Congress on several occasions, most recently regarding the impact of health, safety, and environmental regulations on the economy.
Robert R.M. Verchick holds the Gauthier ~ St. Martin Eminent Scholar Chair in Environmental Law at Loyola University New Orleans, is the Faculty Director of the Center for Environmental Law at Loyola, and is a Senior Fellow in Disaster Resilience Leadership, Tulane University. He is the President of the Center for Progressive Reform.
Verchick is an expert in climate change law, disaster law, and environmental regulation. In 2009 and 2010, he served in the Obama administration as Deputy Associate Administrator for Policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In that role he helped develop climate adaptation policy for the EPA and served on President Obama's Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force. In the fall of 2012, he researched climate adaptation policies in India as a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, supported by a Fulbright Award.
His work has appeared in many venues, including the California Law Review, the Southern California Law Review, and the environmental law journals at Harvard, Stanford, and Berkeley. He is an author of three books, including the award-winning, Facing Catastrophe: Environmental Action for a Post-Katrina World (Harvard University Press 2010). Professor Verchick has taught as a visitor at several schools, including Peking University (China) and Aarhus University (Denmark), and has received several teaching awards. He has lectured across the United States, Europe, and Asia
Nicholas Vidargas, J.D., is a former Policy Analyst with the Center for Progressive Reform. He joined the organization after two years as an honors attorney fellow at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9, Office of Regional Counsel, in San Francisco, where he worked on enforcement of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and on Clean Water Act rulemaking, and where he initiated the first enforcement action under the Clean Air Act General Duty Clause in Region 9. Vidargas’s prior legal experience includes internships at the Natural Resources Defense Council and the California Attorney General’s Office.
Vidargas graduated from Stanford University, where he received a B.S. in Earth Systems, focusing on marine biology, and an M.S. in Earth Systems focused on invasive species and community ecology. He received his law degree from the University of California, Davis, King Hall School of Law, with certificates in Environmental Law and Public Service Law. While at UC Davis he was Editor-in-Chief of Environs Environmental Law and Policy Journal, and served as a Senior Articles Editor for the UC Davis Law Review.
Yee Huang, J.D., L.L.M, is a former CPR policy analyst.
Huang joined the staff in December 2008. Prior to that, her public interest experience had included internships with the Department of State in Vienna, Austria, and Windhoek, Namibia. She interned with the Center for International Environmental Law, researching avoided deforestation under the Kyoto Protocol. Ms. Huang also worked as a law clerk in the Water Branch of the Office of Regional Counsel for the Environmental Protection Agency, Region 3. During law school, Ms. Huang authored articles published in the University of Denver Water Law Review, the Florida Journal of International Law, and the Cardozo Law Review (with Christine A. Klein).
Ms. Huang graduated cum laude from Rice University with a B.A. in biology. She received a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to study international law at the University of Kent in Brussels, Belgium, where she received an L.L.M. with distinction. Ms. Huang attended the University of Florida College of Law, where she co-chaired the 2008 Public Interest Environmental Conference and graduated cum laude.
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