Eastern Environmental Law Center names Executive Director

chris miller eelc

Chris Miller, attorney who worked on Newark’s environmental justice ordinance, will head EELC

The Eastern Environmental Law Center’s Board of Trustees is excited to announce that Chris Miller has been named as executive director.  Chris is a seasoned environmental and land use attorney and joins EELC after twelve years of practice at one of New Jersey’s pre-eminent private environmental law firms, Maraziti Falcon, LLP, where he was partner.   He will start at EELC on January 13th.  

Chris is enthusiastic about heading the state’s only non-profit environmental law center and using his skills and experience as an environmental litigator in the public interest.   “I’m thrilled to help lead the fight for clean energy, environmental justice and open space preservation in New Jersey and the region. Given the dire projections of climate change and the ongoing rollback of environmental regulations, our work is now more imperative than ever.”

Taking leadership of a public interest law center is a return to work he has long known he is meant to do.  Chris gained experience with public interest law at the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at Vermont Law School, where he received his JD and Master of Studies in Environmental Law, cum laude.   While at Vermont Law his passion for environmental law deepened and broadened to include an interest in social justice and civil rights work. 

At Maraziti Falcon, LLP, Chris counseled and litigated on behalf of local governments throughout New Jersey in environmental and land use matters, including climate change resilience, open space preservation, and environmental justice.  Chris has also worked with numerous municipalities to craft development regulations and redevelopment plans that incorporate principles of smart growth and equitable development, and he brings a deep knowledge of New Jersey land use law to EELC. 

Chris worked with the City of Newark and environmental organizations in drafting the City’s Environmental Justice and Cumulative Impacts Ordinance in 2016.  The ordinance aims to empower the community, which suffers under a high concentration of polluting land uses, by requiring developers of heavy manufacturing and other industrial uses to disclose adverse environmental impacts. 

Chris is an experienced litigator, with over a decade of experience standing up to powerful development interests in court.  This year, Chris obtained a judgment preventing the development of a diesel fuel depot next to a public park and a popular community kayaking facility on the Hudson River.  On behalf of a low-income community, Chris convinced a federal court to throw out a countersuit to challenge a longstanding community benefits agreement which had been filed by the corporate owner of a coal-fired power plant in Carneys Point at the foot of the Delaware Memorial Bridge.   Through his extensive experience including brownfield redevelopment, zoning and land use planning, open space acquisition and protection, and clean energy and climate resilience, Chris has developed a keen ability to use the power of law to protect the public interest and promote a clean and safe environment.   

“I am delighted to welcome Chris on behalf of the EELC Board of Trustees as our new Executive Director”, said EELC Co-Chair of the Board, Ed Lloyd.    “We look forward to working with Chris to lead EELC forward to continue its advocacy on behalf of New Jersey’s environment.”

Chris Miller assumes leadership at a time when EELC’s clean energy work has grown significantly as the focus has turned to states to combat climate change.  EELC is expanding its environmental justice practice and remains committed to the widespread open space and sustainable development work we do throughout the state. 

“I am excited about taking on powerful interests and fostering positive social change,” Chris said.  I believe I have a duty as a parent and an environmental lawyer to help ensure that current and future generations inherit a clean and healthy environment.”