U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan has announced the appointment of Robin Morris Collin to be EPA’s Senior Advisor to the Administrator for Environmental Justice. Collin will advise Administrator Regan as the Agency works to advance environmental justice and civil rights in communities that continue to suffer from disproportionately high pollution levels, including low-income communities and communities of color.
Collin is nationally recognized for her leadership and scholarship in the areas of sustainability, energy, and environmental justice, and joins the Agency after serving as the Norma Paulus Professor of Law at Willamette University in Oregon. Collin was one of the first U.S. law professors to teach sustainability courses in a U.S. law school and served as founding chair of the State of Oregon’s Environmental Justice Task Force, among other positions on local, state, and federal environmental justice organizations.
“From my first day at EPA, I have committed to embedding equity, environmental justice, and civil rights into the DNA of the Agency’s programs, policies, and processes, and to delivering tangible results to underserved communities. That’s why I am so pleased to welcome Robin, one of the nation’s foremost experts and a lifelong advocate for overburdened communities, as my senior advisor for environmental justice,” said Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Robin brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the agency and is the ideal person to ensure our most vulnerable populations have a seat at the table as we work to deliver environmental justice.”
“Climate change is the single greatest environmental challenge of our time. Environmental justice is the way a multiracial, multi-ethnic society engages that challenge. I am honored to serve in this role to protect our land, air, and water and, as part of that work, lift up underserved communities so that we may all thrive together,” said Robin Morris Collin. “I look forward to the privilege of working with Administrator Regan and the experienced, thoughtful, and collaborative leadership team at EPA.”
Prior to her time at Willamette University, Collin held professorships at Tulane Law School, McGeorge School of Law, and the University of Oregon, and visitorships at Washington & Lee Law School, and Pepperdine Law School. Her work on environmental justice has been published in numerous academic journals. Throughout her career, Collin has been recognized for creative and entrepreneurial leadership and her ability to develop equitable solutions, receiving the EPA Environmental Justice Achievement Award, the Leadership Award by Oregon State Bar as founder of the Sustainable Futures section of the Bar, the Judith Ramaley Award for Civic Engagement, and the David Brower Lifetime Achievement Award.
Collin comes from a family of academic and entrepreneurial achievers. Her great grandfather, an enslaved person, became a professor of math and Greek at Bennet College in North Carolina, and her father, John Payton Morris, founded an ocean-going vessel line in Maryland. Collin holds a B.A. from Colorado College and a J.D. from Arizona State University.
“Professor Collin is an excellent choice to lead the EJ efforts at the EPA,” said Dr. Beverly Wright, founding executive director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ). “We look forward to working with her and Administrator Regan to continue this important work on behalf of the Biden-Harris Administration to address the urgent needs of underserved communities that have been left behind for way too long.”
“I am thrilled that Professor Collin has been appointed by the Biden-Harris Administration to serve in this critical role at the EPA,” said Dr. Robert Bullard, Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University. “Professor Collin has dedicated her entire life’s work to uplifting communities in need and I know that together we will work towards delivering meaningful results to those that need it most.”
In last year’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget request, President Biden proposed creating a new National Program Manager (NPM) for Environmental Justice and Civil Rights at EPA. The head of the new NPM would be an Assistant Administrator to be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Further information and details on the proposed reorganization are under development. EPA is working closely with the Office of Management and Budget and Congress on the proposal.