Speaking with One Voice: Accelerating Access to Opportunity
Lessons Learned in NEPA and Environmental Justice
Suzi Ruhl, JD, MPH, is Senior Attorney Advisor for the US EPA Office of Environmental Justice. In this capacity, she integrates environmental justice in agency decision-making, supports community based action, and fosters administration wide action that promotes healthy, equitable, resilient and sustainable communities for overburdened populations. She serves as Co-Chair of the National Environmental Policy Act Committee of the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (IWG) and the Rural Committee of the IWG. She served as Co-Chair of Team-EJ of the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities. Since her arrival to EPA in 2009, Ms. Ruhl has won four National Honor Awards: 2010 Gold Medal for HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities; 2011 Gold Medal for Mountain Top Mining Guidance Team; 2011 Silver Medal for Keystone Pipeline NEPA Review; and, Silver Medal for $1 Billion Bayonne Bridge NEPA Review. In 2015, she received the Excellence in Frontline Public Health Service Award for Exemplary Partnership and Support of ATSDR’s National Brownfields/Land Reuse Health Initiative. She was Director of Public Health and Law for Environmental Law Institute, founder/President of Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation, Assistant Clinical Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at New York State University School of Optometry and received a Courtesy Faculty Appointment to Institute of Public Health at Florida A&M University.
Helen Serassio has over 15 years’ experience as an environmental lawyer for the federal government. She is currently Special Counsel at the Federal Transit Administration where she works primarily on Hurricane Sandy recovery and environmental legal issues. Prior to her tenure at FTA, Ms. Serassio worked in the Department of Transportation’s Office of the General Counsel for 13 years practicing environmental law. Ms. Serassio also served as the Deputy Associate Director for NEPA Oversight at the Council on Environmental Quality and as the Director of Environmental Compliance for the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council. Ms. Serassio is also an adjunct professor and teaches courses on environmental public policy making and the National Environmental Policy Act.