Joseph Goffman, who, over a 30-year career, has shaped environmental law and policy at the highest levels of the Executive branch and as a senior congressional staffer, will join Harvard Law School’s Environmental Law Program in November as Executive Director.
ELP Faculty Director Jody Freeman LL.M. ’91 S.J.D. ’95 says “Joe is a fantastic addition to our program, bringing a stellar reputation and deep experience in the field of climate and energy policy. During his long career in public service, he has helped to design some of the most innovative regulatory approaches ever adopted in environmental law. He is a problem solver and a master strategist. With Joe aboard, our Environmental Law Program will expand its reach and amplify its impact. I am delighted.”
Goffman has been called “EPA’s Law Whisperer” because “his specialty is teaching old laws to do new tricks.” As associate assistant administrator for Climate and Senior Counsel in the Office of Air and Radiation at the Environmental Protection Agency from 2009-2017, he was one of the chief architects of the ground-breaking Clean Power Plan. As Majority Counsel to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, he authored Title IV of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, pioneering the use of cap and trade in the program that tackled acid rain.
His record at EPA also includes leading roles in crafting the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, the Cross State Air Pollution Rule, and rules to reduce greenhouse emissions from oil and gas facilities, among many other rulemakings and policy actions.
In numerous roles on Senate staff–as legislative director to Senator Joseph Lieberman (I/D-CT), Majority Senior Counsel and later Minority Chief Counsel on EPW–his work included a succession of bills applying cap and trade to greenhouse gas emissions. Earlier, he spent a decade in the non-profit sector at the Environmental Defense Fund, and co-founded the Environmental Resources Trust.
Goffman says, “Using the vast intellectual and educational resources of the Law School and the larger University, the ELP has already proven itself to be one of the country’s most effective platforms to advance national environmental policy. Now, with society facing daunting environmental challenges and the Law School community eager to take on the legal and policy riddles they present, the ELP is perfectly placed to expand its problem-solving reach. I am excited to be joining the team.”
Goffman will work with Professors Jody Freeman and Richard Lazarus to shape the Program’s strategic direction; oversee Fellows and students in producing the highest caliber legal research on the most important questions in the field; and ensure that the program’s work reaches key policymakers and stakeholders.