EPA Environmental Justice Head Lisa Garcia Joins Earthjustice

Top Obama administration EPA appointee will lead Earthjustice’s healthy communities work


Liz Judge, Earthjustice, (415) 217-2007

Earthjustice is very pleased to welcome former U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Associate Assistant Administrator for Environmental Justice Lisa Garcia as its new Vice President of Litigation for Health. This is a newly created role to lead the nation’s preeminent environmental law organization in its vast and growing body of litigation on clean air, clean water, toxic chemicals, pesticides, and issues of environmental justice.

In this role, Garcia will chart Earthjustice’s course in groundbreaking and high-impact litigation to protect communities and families from the wide range of pollution issues that confront them on a daily basis. Tens of thousands of Americans die every year because of dirty air; hundreds of thousands more land in hospital emergency rooms because of asthma attacks and respiratory disease. Heavily polluted waterways from a host of sources—agricultural pollution, stormwater runoff, mining waste, factory pollution, pesticide runoff, chemical dumping, and industrial development—threaten our families and communities. Garcia’s leadership will continue and strengthen Earthjustice’s legacy of winning protections for these families and communities.

“Earthjustice is thrilled to have Lisa Garcia join us in the newly-created position of Vice President of Litigation for Health,” said Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen. “She will lead Earthjustice’s work to defend the right of all people to a healthy environment, encompassing our clean air, clean water, toxic chemicals and waste, and pesticides programs. Lisa will be based in our Washington, DC, office and will work with our staff from across the organization.”

Garcia has a long and impressive history using her legal, policy and legislative experience to promote environmental justice. She comes to Earthjustice from the EPA, where, as an appointee by President Obama, she also served as Senior Advisor to the Administrator for Environmental Justice. In this role Garcia has elevated environmental justice issues to the highest levels of the agency. “Let’s all take our responsibility and say no one community should bear the burden of what I benefit from,” she told Greenwire, describing the idea of environmental justice, while in that role. “I have lights—that’s a power plant. I have my garbage collected—that’s a landfill or waste transfer station. How do we collectively figure out how to bear the burden equally?”

She helped draft and implement Plan EJ 2014, EPA’s roadmap to integrating and strengthening environmental justice throughout its programs, activities, and decisions. Garcia also worked to promote meaningful, working relationships with overburdened, low income, minority and tribal communities, as well as build strong partnerships. She led the Environmental Justice Interagency Workgroup with other Federal agencies—including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Energy and the Department of Commerce—to address some of the country’s most persistent environmental challenges.

Previous to her role at the EPA, Garcia served as the Chief Advocate for Environmental Justice and Equity at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. In that position she developed statewide environmental justice initiatives to tackle critical environmental challenges, and served as co-chair of the Governor’s Environmental Justice Interagency Task Force. Garcia served as Assistant Attorney General for the New York State Attorney General, where she represented various state agencies in environmental litigation matters and defended New York’s Brownfields Cleanup Program.

For decades, Earthjustice has worked at the regional and national levels to ensure widespread protections from air and water pollution and exposure to toxic chemicals. Our fight for healthy communities involves strengthening standards and protections and holding polluters accountable when they violate those standards.

MEDIA INQUIRIES: Lisa Garcia is fluent in Spanish and available for English and Spanish interviews. To request interviews, please contact Liz Judge at (415) 217-2007 or ljudge@earthjustice.org.

En Español.

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Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people's health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.