Patrice Simms

Vice President of Litigation for Healthy Communities


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Erin Fitzgerald
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DC, MA (inactive)

Patrice Simms is the Vice President for Healthy Communities. He is based in Washington, D.C.

A leading environmental attorney and legal scholar, Patrice began his career as an attorney in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of General Counsel, and later served as a counsel to EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board and as a Senior Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. Additionally, Patrice served in the Obama Administration as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. Prior to joining Earthjustice, he was a Howard University School of Law professor, teaching, writing, and speaking on various subjects related to environmental law and environmental justice. Patrice served on the Earthjustice Board of Trustees for five years.

Patrice is a founding member of the Green Leadership Trust, and a member of the Commission on Environmental Law for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Media Highlights with Patrice Simms:

The Latest from Patrice Simms

March 14, 2024

In the News: The New York Times

E.P.A. Sets Limits on Carcinogenic Gas Used to Sterilize Medical Devices

“Today is an important step forward in regulating toxic ethylene oxide emissions from commercial sterilization facilities, but there is still a lot of work to do.”
February 7, 2024

In the News: Washington Post

New air pollution rule could prevent thousands of premature deaths

“We heard this in the ’70s, when lobbyists said that if we required catalytic converters for cars, the whole industry was going to collapse. Well, guess what? We’re fine. This is the same tired playbook of trying to undermine progress.”
Port Arthur, Texas, lives in the shadow of oil refineries.
April 30, 2020

As COVID Barrels Down on Communities, EPA Offers Polluters a Pass

Patrice Simms and Hilton Kelley document how the Trump administration is using the virus as cover to give industries a wink and a nod that it will let them off the hook when it comes to emissions releases and reporting.
The U.S. EPA’s flag flies outside the Federal Triangle complex in Washington, D.C.
March 27, 2020

What EPA’s ‘Enforcement Discretion’ During COVID-19 Really Means

VP of Litigation Patrice Simms explains how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has used this tool in the past, but never with this breadth. And there is no end date.
The U.S. EPA’s flag flies outside the Federal Triangle complex in Washington, D.C.
January 16, 2020

EPA Sits on the Scales of Justice for Polluters With New Environmental Appeals Board Proposal

VP of Litigation Patrice Simms explains how the Trump administration is trying to institutionalize lawlessness and corporate cronyism in its most cynical form.
NEPA allowed these individuals to advocate for removing four dams on the lower Snake River to restore wild salmon runs. They are four of the more than 480,000 people who made their voices heard on this issue. Pictured, clockwise from the top left, are for
April 1, 2019

Trump Chips Away At The Shield Against Environmental Racism

To understand just how devastating such a rollback to core environmental law would be, we need only consider what the world was like before NEPA existed.
Activists protest outside the Supreme Court as Justice Brett Kavanaugh is sworn in.
October 12, 2018

The Fight Doesn’t End With Kavanaugh

The legal landscape for key environmental fights extends far beyond just the Supreme Court.
Brett Kavanaugh appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee, April 26, 2004.
September 4, 2018

Kavanaugh Guided by Industry, Not Rule of Law

We agree with the Heritage Foundation on this point: Let’s assess Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s record using the “Schumer Standard.” That’s exactly why the Senate should reject him.
Supreme Court
April 11, 2018

The American People’s Ability to Access Justice Through the Courts is Under Attack

Earthjustice released a new report today detailing this all-out push to close the courtroom doors.
Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma, speaking at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.
December 15, 2017

Former EPA Lawyers Slam Pruitt on His ‘Patently Biased’ Handout to Polluters

Fifty-seven former attorneys to the agency signed an open letter criticizing Pruitt's conduct as EPA administrator.
A directive from EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and a bill in Congress seek to give industry the power to further delay or block public protections when the EPA misses legal deadlines.
October 25, 2017

Congress Moves to Bolster Pruitt’s Agenda of Delay, Delay, Delay

Scott Pruitt’s EPA directive and a bill in Congress seek to give industry the power to further delay or block public protections when EPA misses legal deadlines.