WASHINGTON – President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has selected Brenda Mallory, an environmental lawyer who spent more than 15 years working in the federal government under the Republican and Democratic presidents, to lead the Council on Environmental Quality, according to two people close to Biden’s transition team.
The council is expected to broaden its focus on environmental justice issues under Ms Mallory’s leadership, in addition to its traditional role of coordinating environmental policy across government, others close to the presidential transition said.
Ms Mallory, who is currently the director of regulatory policy at the Southern Environmental Law Center, a watchdog group, has worked on pollution and land conservation issues throughout her career, including helping to create new national monuments. under the Obama administration and fighting. the dismantling of these monuments under the Trump administration.
“Biden appoints substantive experts, people who can start from day one, who know the office they were appointed to and in particular know how it should work with other offices,” said Ted Boling, legal partner . Perkins Coie who has worked on the Environmental Quality Council in several positions for over a decade.
The board, a division of the president’s office, tends to play a behind-the-scenes role in federal environmental policy, and its directors are typically less prominent than those who run large agencies like the Home Office or the Federal Agency for the Environment. Environmental Protection.
But Mr Biden has pledged to make tackling racial disparities in environmental policies a central part of his climate change agenda, potentially giving the council a stronger mission in this and other areas.
Project Climate 21, a plan of more than 150 former government officials advising on a government-wide response to climate change, identified the Council on Environmental Quality as “best suited to elevate environmental justice to the White House and to lead the climate agenda change resilience. “
The group recommended that the Biden administration update a Clinton-era executive order on environmental justice to formalize the agency’s role in summoning environmental justice leaders and “advancing the EJ across the federal government ”.
A graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School, Ms. Mallory began her career in private practice before joining the Federal Government in 2000. She has spent over 15 years in various positions with the Environmental Protection Agency, becoming Senior Assistant General Counsel, ranking career position in this office. During the Obama administration, she was General Counsel for the Council on Environmental Quality.
She then worked as the Executive Director and Senior Counsel of the Conservation Litigation Project, which works to protect public lands, before joining the Southern Environmental Law Center.