Board of Directors
MEMBERS OF THE BOARD
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John Buttrick is a general partner at Union Square Ventures, a venture capital firm based in New York. He began his career as a corporate lawyer at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York and Paris and was a partner in the firm’s mergers and acquisitions group from 1994-2000. Between 2000 and 2010 John was involved in a number of private equity and venture projects. He has been a member of the Board of Environmental Advocates NY since 2004 and currently serves as Board Chair. John majored in American Studies at Northwestern University and has a JD degree from Villanova University School of Law. John is a native New Yorker with a longstanding interest in preserving the environment.
Bob Rachofsky joined the board of Environmental Advocates in 2009, and currently serves as Board secretary and co-head of the Board’s Committee on Directors. He is a senior corporate partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP in New York, practicing M&A and securities law. Bob’s commitment to Environmental Advocates NY springs from his love of the outdoors and his optimism about a clean energy future.
Amelia Salzman has been working to improve environmental quality through policy change for over thirty years. She currently serves on a variety of non-profit boards.
As Associated Director for Policy Outreach at the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Obama, Ms. Salzman led several conservation initiatives and engaged with stakeholders and citizens interested in learning about or shaping the Administration’s policies relating to climate and energy, land and water conservation, endangered species protection, technology innovation, pollution, and scientific integrity. She also served on President Obama’s transition team for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Prior to working at the White House, Ms. Salzman was the senior program officer for energy, climate change and biodiversity for the Wallace Global Fund. Ms. Salzman also served as a senior program officer in the International Policy Program at World Wildlife Fund U.S. She launched her environmental career in the honors program of the U.S. Department of Justice as a trial attorney in the Policy, Legislation and Special Litigation Section of the Environment Division.
Ms. Salzman serves on the boards of Environmental Advocates NY; the Institute for Policy Integrity; Bare Breasted Against Breast Cancer; the Open Space Institute; and the Chilmark Pond Association.
She received a J.D. from New York University and a BA from Brown University.
Douglas Bateson retired as a Managing Director of JPMorgan Chase in 2012 after a 30+ year career, with extensive experience in numerous product areas, particularly in capital markets and capital markets product development. From 2001 until he left JPMorgan, Doug headed and built out into new product areas, a fixed income derivatives business. Other experience at JPMorgan Chase included senior client management roles in custody and operations and in private banking.
In addition to serving on the Environmental Advocates board, Doug currently serves on the board of the Open Space Institute. OSI works with governmental entities, landowners and local land trusts, primarily up and down the East Coast, to acquire land to protect diverse landscapes, ensure water quality, facilitate adaptation to climate change and to enhance recreational access. He is also a Managing Director of Golden Seeds, an investment consortium that invests in early-stage women-led businesses. He is a board member of Cadenza Innovation, Inc., an early stage company that licenses a proprietary lithium-ion battery technology and of Sumitomo-Mitsui Bank USA.
Doug is a graduate of Harvard College (where he obtained a BA in History) and of Boston University (MBA). He lives in Manhattan with his wife Marcia; together they have 2 grown children. He is also the president of the Tahawus Club, a family-oriented hiking, fishing and hiking club in the Adirondacks.
A communications design professional, Richard Amper is best known for his role in protecting drinking water and preserving habitat in the Long Island Pine Barrens. Since 1989, he has served as Executive Director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, recognized in 2001 as the most respected environmental group in New York State in a New York Conservation Education Fund poll. Richard has been honored for his work by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, New York State Bar Association, the New York Forum on Conflict and Consensus, as well as the Sierra Club, Open Space Council, and other Long Island environmental groups. He shared special recognition with the vice president of the New York State Builders Association through the 1994 Alexander Calder Conservation Award. In addition to sitting on the Board of Directors of Environmental Advocates, Richard serves as President of the Long Island Environmental Voters Forum. He also maintains a communication design consulting firm, Richard Amper Associates, Inc.
Following a career in higher education administration, Beth founded the Libra Fund, focusing on climate justice, environmental equity, and democracy support. The Fund has collaborated with local, statewide, and national organizations seeking to expand environmental justice and promote a healthy, equitable democracy. Key areas include policy change, environmental communications, voter outreach, and supporting diverse leadership in these areas.
Eddie Bautista is an award-winning community organizer and urban planner. In February 2010, Eddie resigned as Director of the Mayor’s Office of City Legislative Affairs to take the reins at NYC-EJA. The Mayor’s Office of City Legislative Affairs is the Mayor’s local lobbying office representing the Mayor and City agencies at the City Council, and serving as liaison between the Bloomberg Administration and the Comptroller, Public Advocate and Borough Presidents. As Director, Eddie spearheaded efforts to pass several major pieces of legislation, including: the City’s 20-year landmark Solid Waste Management Plan (which relied for the first time on principles of environmental justice and borough equity); the creation of the first municipal brownfields remediation office in the nation; the required retrofit of all diesel-powered school buses to reduce air pollution in bus cabins; and the Greater Greener Buildings Plan, the nation’s first comprehensive package of legislation aimed at improving energy efficiency for large scale buildings. Eddie also facilitated meetings for policy advocates with Administration officials on a range of legislative and regulatory initiatives such as PlaNYC 2030 (NYC’s environmental sustainability plan, which has become an international model for large cities) and Mayoral Executive Order 120 of 2008, which for the first time called for all City agencies to make services and documents available to immigrant New Yorkers in the top six languages spoken in the City.
Previously, Eddie was the Director of Community Planning for NY Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), where he served as the lobbying/communications/community organizing director for this non-profit civil rights law firm. At NYLPI, Eddie organized numerous grassroots coalitions and campaigns, including the Organization of Waterfront Neighborhoods (OWN) and Communities United for Responsible Energy (CURE), two citywide coalitions of community-based organizations which blocked the siting of mega-waste transfer stations, large power plants, incinerators and sludge plants in environmentally-burdened, low income communities of color, while changing City and State solid waste and energy policies. Eddie has written articles and been interviewed for local and national news broadcasts. Eddie has a B.A. from N.Y.U., an M.S. in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute and was a Revson Fellow at Columbia University. In 2003, Eddie was among 17 national winners of the Ford Foundation’s Leadership for a Changing World awards. Nine books feature or mention Eddie’s work, including Noxious New York: The Racial Politics of Urban Health and Environmental Justice, by Julie Sze (2006); We Won’t Move: Community Planning in The Real Estate Capital of the World, by Tom Angotti (2008); and The Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs by Roberta Brandes Gratz (2010). Eddie is also a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Pratt Institute School of Architecture’s Graduate Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development, where he teaches courses that apply basic principles and practices of city planning and urban design to specific topical projects.
Blythe Danner is an actress who won a Tony Award for her Broadway debut in Butterflies are Free, and has been nominated several other times. She was nominated for Emmys (Will & Grace, and received two for her work in Huff). I’ll See You In My Dreams stands as her favorite of her films. She is regularly featured on the television show Will & Grace, with her most recent film What They Had is about to open in theaters.
Blythe serves on the advisory board of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Environmental Advocates NY in Albany and Environmental Media Association in California. She is one of many who helped get the sidewalk pickup of recyclables initiative off the ground in NYC as well as in Santa Monica, CA. Blythe also serves on Planned Parenthood’s National Advisory Board and helps raise awareness for oral cancer at the Oral Cancer Foundation (oralcancerfoundation.org).
Andy Darrell wears two hats at EDF: Chief of Strategy, Global Energy and Finance, and New York Regional Director. Andy develops solutions that combine policy change and private investment, with a particular passion for ways to deliver clean energy and less pollution in large cities. He is developing strategy for EDF’s efforts to remove policy and finance barriers to clean energy in the US, Europe and internationally.
Andy serves as member of New York City’s Sustainability Advisory Board, beginning with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and continuing in that role with Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Before joining EDF, Andy was an associate at Davis Polk and Wardwell and founding executive director of two organizations mobilizing political and financial support for waterfront redevelopment for public space. In 2010, he was recognized as by Environmental Advocates NY as advocate of the year.
Andy is a trustee of several philanthropic organizations, including International House (Chair, programs committee and member, audit committee); the Van Alen Institute (Vice-Chair, executive committee); and the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. He chairs the board and is President of the Stiftung ProEvolution, based in Switzerland, which expands access to clean energy in developing countries and helps innovative projects in climate and education scale up through networks and marketing.
Tonya Gayle is the executive director of Green City Force where she oversees fundraising and external communications. Green City Force’s AmeriCorps program prepares young adults aged 18-24 who reside in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments and have a high school diploma or equivalency for careers through green service. She is a board member of The Corps Network which focuses on national service, and Environmental Advocates NY which focuses on environmental justice. She is also a member of the New York Women’s Foundation Circle of Sisters for Social Change. Tonya has spent her career in the human services sector working in nonprofit organizations largely focused on economic justice for young people of color. Prior to joining GCF, she worked at the New York City Housing Authority where she was project manager for a nine-month analysis and assessment of the NYCHA resident services portfolio. She also managed grants and partnerships with funders and stakeholders to support the preservation of public housing through the Office of Public Private Partnerships. Tonya is a graduate of Wesleyan University, native Brooklynite, and passionate about providing young people with viable paths to create and lead a just and equitable world.
Rahwa Ghirmatzion is the executive director of PUSH Buffalo, a community organization that works at the grassroots to create and implement a comprehensive revitalization plan for Buffalo’s West Side, with more than $80 million invested in affordable housing rehabilitation, solar installation, green jobs training, weatherization, and green infrastructure. Over the last decade, PUSH has built a powerful, grassroots movement guided by racial, economic, and environmental justice rooted in the realities of poor and working-class people living in Buffalo. The benefits of PUSH’s organizing model extend far beyond the boundaries of our Green Development Zone on Buffalo’s West Side, a place that we practice our values through action and what it means to have a Just Transition to a regenerative and renewable economy. She serves on the New York State Climate Justice Working Group, a group created by New York’s 2019 climate law to identify disadvantaged communities on the front lines of climate change that will be a focus for state climate investment.
Rahwa Ghirmatzion was born in Asmera, Eritrea in the middle of a civil war. She came to Western New York as a refugee at the age of eight with her family, after living in Sudan. She was educated in Buffalo Public Schools and SUNY Buffalo State.
For more than 20 years, Rahwa has worked with community-based organizations in Western New York that promote community development, public health, and policy. She was executive director of Ujima Theatre Company, a multi-ethnic professional theatre company whose primary purpose is the preservation, perpetuation, and performance of African American theatre.
Eric A. Goldstein is a senior attorney and NYC Environment Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. More than three decades ago, he helped create NRDC’s Urban Program. He gained nationwide attention in the early 1980s for spearheading the public campaign to get lead out of gasoline. Since then, Eric has been one of the New York region’s leading environmental advocates on such issues as solid waste, drinking water, clean air and environmental justice. He helped draft, support and enforce New York City’s landmark 1989 mandatory recycling law and has led NRDC New York efforts to transform the way trash is handled — from primary reliance on landfilling and incineration to making recycling, composting, waste prevention and equity the cornerstones of waste policy. In addition, Eric has been a force in administrative, legislative and litigation efforts on behalf of millions of water consumers, seeking to safeguard the downstate drinking water supply via comprehensive pollution prevention and watershed protection strategies. He is co-author of the award-winning New York Environment Book, blogs frequently on New York environmental issues and co-directs the Environmental Law Clinic at New York University School of Law.
Michael Kink is Executive Director of the Strong Economy for All Coalition, a labor-community coalition focused on economic fairness, jobs & income inequality.
He has worked closely with Occupy Wall Street and the Fight For $15 and helped lead campaigns in New York to win progressive tax reform, a state “Millionaires Tax,” GOP support for increased federal taxes on the 1%, and an increase in the state minimum wage to $15 per hour.
He is a public interest attorney with degrees from Brown University and the NYU School of Law and has worked on economic justice, poverty, HIV/AIDS, homelessness, disability, environmental and children’s issues in New York City, Albany and Washington D.C.
Based in New York, Peter Lehner (@p_lehner) directs Earthjustice’s Sustainable Food & Farming Program, developing strategies to promote a more environmentally sound agricultural system and to reduce health, environmental, and climate harms from production of our food.
From 2007–2015, Peter was the Executive Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the NRDC Action Fund. During his tenure, NRDC grew significantly, opened a new office in Chicago, started new programs on market innovation and food systems, and increased its communications and political capacities. From 1999–2006, Peter served as chief of the Environmental Protection Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s office. He supervised all environmental litigation by and against the state, prosecuting a wide variety of polluters and developing innovative multi-state strategies targeting global warming, air pollution, and opposing environmental rollbacks by the Bush administration He spearheaded novel watershed-wide enforcement programs and cases addressing invasive species, wildlife protection, and public health.
Peter previously served at NRDC for five years directing the clean water program where he brought important attention to storm water pollution. Before that, he created and led the environmental prosecution unit for New York City. His cases protecting the city’s drinking water laid the foundation for the city’s current watershed protection program. He clerked for Chief Judge James Browning of the Ninth Circuit.
Peter holds an AB in philosophy and mathematics from Harvard College and is an honors graduate of Columbia University Law School, where he teaches a seminar on food systems and U.S. environmental law. Peter is on the boards of the Rainforest Alliance, Environmental Advocates NY, and two large farms in Costa Rica, and is a member of the American College of Environmental Lawyers. He authored many articles and has been honored with numerous awards by EPA and environmental groups.
Barbara Lifton retired in 2020 after serving for eighteen years in the NYS Assembly, representing Tompkins and part of Cortland County. Barbara was Chair of the Assembly Steering Committee and sat on the Agriculture, Education, Election Law, Environmental Conservation and Higher Education committees. Her most significant legislative achievements include leading on voting reforms and new voting machines, allowing the continuation of midwife-assisted home births, and in the ban on High Volume Hydrofracking. She helped enact the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Before her election, she served as Chief of Staff to former Assemblymember Marty Luster. She also taught high school English in both the Geneseo and Ithaca public schools. Barbara resides in Ithaca and has two children and four grandchildren.
Matthew is a partner in Cravath, Swaine & Moore’s corporate department and is in charge of its environmental practice. He advises the firm’s clients on environmental matters relating to mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings, financings and other business transactions, as well as on environmental-related proceedings and investigations. Prior to joining Cravath, he practiced environmental law, including regulatory and litigation matters, at Beveridge & Diamond in New York. Matthew regularly lectures and writes on environmental topics and has taught courses on environmental concerns in business transactions and on the law of climate change at both Columbia Law School and Cardozo School of Law. He also has served on the Board of Directors of the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law since 1997.
Matthew received his undergraduate degree and a master of science degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his J.D. from Columbia Law School.
Michael O’Loughlin has decades of experience helping clients develop and implement integrated strategies for advocacy campaigns on issues related to environmental sustainability, public health, transportation, infrastructure, consumer rights and other issues of public interest. For most of that time, Michael directed the New York office of national public affairs firm M+R, before leaving to work on his own in 2016.
Michael is proud to have organized community and political support for passage of New York’s Smoke-Free Workplace Act and numerous landmark tobacco control policies since then.
Michael helped conceive and launch Waterfront Alliance, organizing the hundreds of diverse stakeholder groups around the NY-NJ waterfront to advocate successfully for the public-spirited renaissance that has transformed the region’s previously neglected waterfront.
He coordinated the mobilizing effort for “Listening to the City,” the historic meeting of 5,000 demographically-representative residents of the NY-NJ region that helped rewrite plans for rebuilding Lower Manhattan after 9/11.
Beginning in 2007, Michael coordinated the Campaign for New York’s Future, a broad coalition of 150+ groups in support of Mayor Mike Blooomberg’s PlaNYC 2030 initiatives for a greener, healthier New York City.
In recent years, Michael has helped clients organize groundbreaking campaigns around diverse issues ranging from advocating for the rights of restaurant workers to improving the safety, quality and environmental impact of NYC taxis and for-hire vehicles.
Prior to his career as a consultant, Michael managed a variety of organizing and advocacy projects with the New York Public Interest Research Group. (He previously failed in his intended career: commercial fishing in Alaska.)
Michael received his degree from Princeton University.
Currently, Michael lives in Gowanus, Brooklyn with his wife, two children and one very large dog.
After completing college through residency at the University of Chicago, Alexis practiced General Pediatrics in a medically underserved Hispanic neighborhood in Chicago. While there, she developed a particular expertise in lead poisoning, which led to further interest in environmental health and advocacy, and participation on statewide lead poisoning prevention initiatives.
She moved with her husband, Steve, to NYC in 1994, and completed a fellowship in Neurodevelopmental Pediatrics at the Rose F. Kennedy Developmental Center at A.E.C.O.M. in the Bronx. She retired from active practice in 2004, but maintains special interests in Developmental Pediatrics and in Environmental Health.
Alexis serves as a Trustee of Trevor Day School in addition to her board participation in EANY. She also serves on Visiting Committees for the Biological Sciences Division/Pritzker School of Medicine and for the College at UChicago.
E. Gail Suchman, a Partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, has over 30 years of experience in environmental and energy law and policy. She works with residential, commercial and industrial developers on energy, brownfields, green design, and other emerging sustainable development issues, as well as on traditional environmental and land use transactions and litigation. Ms. Suchman served on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Energy Policy Task Force and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Environmental Justice Advisory Group for over a decade and has taught at Columbia University’s Law and International and Public Affairs Schools. She is a former New York State Assistant Attorney General, Senior Environmental Counsel for New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Regional Director for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Regional Counsel. She has delivered lectures to myriad industry and educational audiences across the U.S. and in Europe and South Africa. Ms Suchman graduated Northwestern University in Environmental Sciences and Engineering and Boston College Law School.
Robert Sweeney is a lifelong resident of Long Island, NY, and served as a member of the New York State Assembly for nearly 27 years, the last seven as Chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Environmental Conservation.
The Committee has jurisdiction over legislation affecting State environmental policy. The primary concerns of the Committee are pollution prevention and control, resource management, & environmental quality issues. As Chair, Sweeney worked on numerous issues ranging from hydrofracking , Great Lakes protection & water quality to climate change & resiliency, toxic chemicals in children products and a ban on the sale of elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn.
Bob Sweeney was awarded the Lifetime Green Recognition Award in 2014 by Environmental Advocates Action (formerly EPL/Environmental Advocates).
Ernest Tollerson serves on the board of the Hudson River Foundation, which funds basic and applied scientific research required to inform decision-making about the Hudson Estuary and the Hudson River Valley watershed. He also served a three-year term on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s NPCC3 (New York City Panel on Climate Change).
From 2004 through 2013, he served as a trustee of the Nathan Cummings Foundation (NCF), including a three-year term as board chair; he also filled in as NCF’s Interim president and CEO from July 2014 until November 2015. In that capacity he helped to reinvigorate NCF’s focus on climate and inequality as well as the intersection of those issues.
Mr. Tollerson is the former Director of Environmental Sustainability and Compliance at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), where he led work on a Blue Ribbon Commission on Sustainability and the MTA, a roadmap for environmentally sustainable business practices for North America’s largest network of subways, buses, regional rail, bridges and tunnels. During his 7 1/2-year stint at the MTA, he co-chaired the Transportation & Land Use Technical Working Group of the New York State Climate Action Plan Interim Report (www.climatestrategies.us/library/library/index/42/InterimReport.cfm).
To increase MTA riders’ access to real-time information and expand the MTA’s collaboration with app developers, he organized an MTA UnConference at Google’s NY office in 2010 and launched MTA App Quest in 2011, a competition that created apps for MTA subways, buses and regional rail. He championed Open Data projects, including the December 2012 launch of the cloud-managed GTFS-Real Time Feed of arrival/departure estimates for subway lines 1-6 and the 42nd St. Shuttle.
In his nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor, Mr. Tollerson worked for a number of newspapers, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Newsday, where he was the editor of the editorial and op-ed pages, and The New York Times, where he was first a national correspondent and later a member of the editorial board.
Mr. Tollerson chairs the board of Riverkeeper. He is also on the boards of the Environmental Grantmakers Association, Environmental Advocates NY, the South Street Seaport Museum and the New-York Historical Society.
James Tripp is a lawyer with extensive trial experience and has been admitted to the New York State Bar, the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, several U.S. courts of appeal and the United States Supreme Court. Tripp retired from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) where he had worked for almost 46 years in February 2019. He is serving as a Vice President of the board of CIVITAS, an Upper East Side-East Harlem civic organization focused on land use, zoning, park protection and infrastructure. Tripp is a member of the Town of Brookhaven Open Space Committee, Chair of the Long Island Pine Barrens Credit Clearinghouse and a member of the board of the New York League of Conservation Voters.
During his tenure at EDF, Tripp worked on a broad range of issues relating to transportation, solid waste, energy, land use and protection and restoration of wetland ecosystems, including the Delta of the Mississippi River in coastal Louisiana. He served on two work groups set up by former Governor George Pataki relating to brownfield and greenhouse gas reduction strategies. He was a co-founder of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, and participated in the legal defense of the California Air Resources Board motor vehicle carbon dioxide emissions standards in the 2003-2009 period.
Charlie Updike is the senior partner in Schoeman Updike & Kaufman LLP, a 30-lawyer firm with offices in mid-Manhattan and New Jersey, where he supports a busy litigation practice. An interest in the Adirondacks as a boy led to his canoeing various North American and European rivers, including several north of the Arctic Circle. He has hiked and camped in various settings, including Antarctica, and continues to enjoy the Adirondacks from a home on Lake Champlain. Charlie and fellow director Jim Tripp worked together as Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the early 1970’s to bring anti-pollution cases that ultimately resulted in substantial progress in cleaning up the Hudson River.
Charlie is also a director of the Adirondack Explorer and an avid supporter of North Country museums, organizations and activities. He and his wife Beth Kaufman, also a lawyer, live in New Rochelle. Together they have five grown daughters and four grandchildren.