Environmental Law and Policy Center

Environmental Law and Policy Center

The Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) is the Midwest's leading public interest environmental advocacy organization working to achieve cleaner energy resources and implement sustainable energy strategies, promote innovative and efficient transportation and land use approaches that produce cleaner air and more jobs, and develop sound environmental management practices that conserve natural resources and improve the quality of life in our communities. One of ELPC’s premises is that environmental progress and economic development can be achieved together. Our projects around the Midwest put that policy belief into practice.

ELPC’s multidisciplinary staff of public interest attorneys, M.B.A. financial analysts, public policy advocates and communications specialists bring a strong and effective combination of skills to solve environmental problems. We are "public interest environmental entrepreneurs," identifying opportunities to improve environmental quality in the Midwest and then working actively to develop and achieve the potential benefits. Our Midwest High-Speed Rail Network and Recycled Paper Coalition projects exemplify this approach. We also provide key legal and technical resources to local environmental groups through a combination of legal representation, economic analysis and public policy research.

ELPC was founded in 1993 after a year-long strategic planning process sponsored by seven major foundations. They meet two long-term needs in the Midwest: (1) increased public interest legal, economic and scientific resources devoted to important environmental and energy policy issues; and (2) a strategic regional perspective as energy, transportation, and forests and land conservation issues are increasingly regional in scope, complex and require coordinated strategies to shape public policy. ELPC brings a new form of creative public advocacy that effectively links environmental progress and economic development in Midwestern communities.

Major programs

[http://www.elpc.org/energy/index.php Clean Energy] ELPC's Clean Energy Program seeks to improve environmental quality and public health by reducing both the pollution from coal plants and the environmental, public health and safety risks from nuclear plants. Achieving that goal requires increasing the use of less-polluting energy efficiency and renewable resources to meet energy needs in the electricity services marketplace of the Midwest/Great Lakes states.

[http://www.elpc.org/energy/globalwarming/index.php Global Warming] The Environmental Law & Policy Center is actively engaged in activities to reduce global warming. Our work focuses on environmental solutions that can dramatically reduce carbon pollution. Midwest-focused solutions are critical. Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin account for 20% of the nation’s carbon pollution, with only 5% of the world’s population. The Midwest alone is responsible for more global warming pollution than any country, except China, India, Russia and Japan. That’s because the Midwest has the largest concentration of old, dirty coal plants that produce large amounts of carbon dioxide which cause global warming, and because we ar the hub of the U.S. transportation industry.

[http://www.elpc.org/transportation/index.php Transportation] As Midwestern communities continue to grow, public officials propose new roads to alleviate increased traffic congestion. Unfortunately, studies have shown that building new roads increases rather than decreases the amount of traffic by allowing more commuters to choose driving over mass transit and by increasing urban sprawl. ELPC is working to promote the availability of mass transit options, encourage the repair of existing roads, and prevent the construction of unnecessary roads which inevitably results in a diminished quality of life for residents.

[http://www.elpc.org/natural/index.php Natural Places] Our Midwest wild and natural areas are, too often, threatened by logging, mining, sprawl and other harmful activities. ELPC works with grassroots groups throughout the Midwest to protect special places that are our environmental heritage and to ensure that fragile ecosystems and habitat are preserved.

[http://www.elpc.org/ecobusiness/index.php Eco-Business] ELPC works to build growing markets for recycled paper, environmentally preferable building products and products that combat global warming. ELPC finds solutions that demonstrate how environmental preservation and economic development can be achieved together. In doing so, we continue to work with our colleagues around the Midwest to preserve our ecological treasures for future generations. We are public interest entrepreneurs who engage in creative business deal-making that puts into practice our belief that environmental progress and economic development can be achieved together.


ELPC is led by Howard A. Learner, an experienced attorney who serves as the organization's President and Executive Director. Learner is responsible for the overall strategic policy direction, financial oversight, and leadership of ELPC.

Learner previously served as the General Counsel for Business and Professional People for the Public Interest, a public interest law center in Chicago, where he specialized in environmental, energy and community economic development litigation and policy development. He also served as the founding Chair and President of the Illinois Citizens Utility Board, a large consumer advocacy organization, and as Legal Counsel for the Chicago Energy Commission, which assessed energy policies and expenditures for the City of Chicago.

Much of Mr. Learner's work on behalf of environmental organizations has concentrated on developing and advocating new directions on environmental policy issues, including: developing clean energy efficiency and renewable energy resources to avoid pollution from conventional power plants; designing “smart growth” transportation and land use strategies to counteract sprawl; protecting the Midwest’s wild and natural places and natural resources; and leading efforts to develop a Midwest high-speed railroad network that can produce complementary environmental quality, economic development and employment benefits.

As an attorney, Mr. Learner successfully represented environmental, consumer and community economic development organizations in complex civil litigation in the federal and state courts. His has both significant appellate and trial experience. He served as the lead attorney for the coalition of Illinois consumer organizations and government agencies in litigating and, then, negotiating a settlement with Commonwealth Edison Company of several complicated rate issues that produced more than $2 billion of refunds – the largest ever in the U.S. He began his career working on civil rights (housing) and community economic development issues.

Major Staff Members

Kevin Brubaker, Deputy Director

Faith Bugel, Senior Attorney

Albert Ettinger, Senior Attorney

Jill Geiger, Director of Marketing and Communications

Linda Lipton, Director of Development

John Moore, Senior Attorney

Allen Grossboll, Co-Legislative Director

Barry Matchett, Co-Legislative Director

See also

*Global warming
*Earth Science
*Natural environment

External links

* [http://www.elpc.org/index.php ELPC website]
* [http://www.globalwarmingsolutions.org/index.php GlobalWarmingSolutions]
* [http://www.cleancarsillinois.org/index.php CleanCarsIllinois]
* [http://www.farmenergyorg/index.php FarmEnergy]
* [http://www.greenrestaurants.org/index.php GreenRestaurants]
* [http://www.iowaglobalwarming.org/index.php IowaGlobalWarming]

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