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Eileen Gauna

Emeritus Professor of Law


University of New Mexico School of Law

Eileen Gauna is an Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of New Mexico School of Law, where she teaches Environmental Law, Environmental Justice, Administrative Law, Energy Law, and Property Law.

Professor Gauna has worked closely with grassroots environmental justice organizations and networks in the Southwestern United States. For example, she conducted workshops on the applicability of civil rights laws to environmental permitting for the SouthWest Organizing Project, Compadres, and Tucsonians for a Cleaner Environment. She has commented on several proposed agency regulations, highlighting the environmental justice implications of the proposed rules. She worked with Richard Moore, director of the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (SNEEJ) and co-chair of the National Environmental Policy Commission (NEPC), in drafting a submission to the NEPC on a proposed legislative strategy to address environmental justice. She has worked with SNEEJ (and its affiliates) and Communities for a Better Environment to examine proposals to reform new source review and market-oriented proposals under the Clean Air Act, and is now working with a SNEEJ working group on environmental justice legislative and regulatory initiatives in New Mexico.

After receiving her J.D. from the University of New Mexico, she clerked for Justice Mary Walters of the New Mexico Supreme Court and subsequently practiced law in Albuquerque. Prior to joining the law faculty at UNM, she was on the faculty at Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles, California.

Professor Gauna is a member of the Environmental Justice Committee of the American Bar Association’s Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section, as well as a member of the Environmental Justice Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section on Environment, Energy and Resources. In addition, Professor Gauna is currently on the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) Implementation Committee, and recently testified before Congress on climate change issues. She has served several tenures on the EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), where she served as chair of the Air and Water Subcommittee and member of the Executive Council. In connection with her duties on the NEJAC, Professor Gauna worked on the drafting committee which prepared the following reports to the Administrator: EPA Report: Environmental Justice in the Permitting Process (July 2000), and Report on Integration of Environmental Justice in Federal Agency Programs (December 2000). Professor Gauna is also a former chair of the Executive Committee of the Environmental Law Section of the American Association of Law Schools.

In 1998 Professor Gauna was appointed to an EPA federal advisory committee that examined the applicability of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to environmental permitting. In connection with her work on the advisory committee, Professor Gauna was a member of a workgroup that developed a template for state and local governments to use in addressing environmental justice, as well as a drafting workgroup that helped prepare the Report to the EPA Administrator of The Title VI Implementation Advisory Committee: Next Steps for EPA, State and Local Environmental Justice Programs (1999). In connection with her work on the Title VI advisory committee, Professor Gauna gave a presentation on the technical aspects of the then-proposed report to grassroots environmental justice representatives in Dallas, Texas.

In 2002, Professor Gauna was appointed to the California Governor’s Office of Planning, Research and Development Environmental Justice Working Group, a multi-stakeholder group appointed to advise the Governor’s Office on implementation of environmental justice legislation recently enacted in California. She has also given several presentations on environmental justice at workshops sponsored by the California Air Resources Board.

Her publications include RECHTSHAFFEN AND GAUNA, ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: LAW, POLICY AND REGULATION (2002), a leading casebook on environmental justice, along with numerous reports, chapters and law review articles on environmental law and environmental justice.