Professor, Harvard Kennedy School
A career public servant in both Democratic and Republican administrations, Gina McCarthy has been a leading advocate for common sense strategies to protect public health and the environment for more than thirty years. As the head of EPA under President Obama, she led historic progress to achieve the administration’s public health and environmental protection goals and Climate Action Plan. In 2015, McCarthy signed the Clean Power Plan, which set the first-ever national standards for reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants, underscoring the country’s commitment to domestic climate action and spurring international efforts that helped secure the Paris Climate Agreement. During her tenure, EPA initiatives cut air pollution, protected water resources, reduced greenhouse gases and strengthened chemical safety to better protect more Americans, especially the most vulnerable, from negative health impacts. Internationally, McCarthy worked with the UN and WHO on a variety of efforts and represented the U.S. on global initiatives to reduce high risk sources of pollution. Known for her pragmatic approaches and disarming, plain-speaking style, McCarthy has earned the respect of the environmental, public health and business communities with her thorough understanding of all sides of climate, air quality, chemical safety, environmental justice and health equity, and water, land and natural resource protection and restoration discussions.
Before joining EPA, she served five Massachusetts Democratic and Republican administrations and was Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. She joined EPA in 2009 as Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. In 2013, she was chosen by President Obama to spearhead his climate efforts at the federal level as EPA Administrator.
(biography from: http://iop.harvard.edu/fellows/gina-mccarthy)
EPA Region 1 Administrator
Alexandra Dapolito Dunn serves as the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 1. Her responsibilities include overseeing the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and ten tribal nations.
Prior to joining EPA Region 1, Ms. Dunn served as executive director and general counsel for the Environmental Council of States (ECOS), a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to helping state agencies improve environmental outcomes for all Americans. Since 2014, Ms. Dunn has helped state governments improve water infrastructure, air pollution control, site cleanup, chemical management, and economic development. Prior to joining ECOS, Ms. Dunn served as executive director and general counsel for the Association of Clean Water Administrators.
Ms. Dunn has been published in the areas of the ethics of community advocacy, environmental justice, urban sustainability, water quality, cooperative federalism, and the Clean Water Act. She has taught on the subjects of environmental justice, and human rights and the environment as dean of Environmental Law Programs at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. She has also taught at the Columbus School of Law, Catholic University of America, where she served as faculty adviser to the student Environmental Law Society. Ms. Dunn most recently taught environmental justice as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at the American University’s Washington College of Law.
In 2015, Ms. Dunn was elected to the American College of Environmental Lawyers and served in leadership roles through the end of 2017. She also served through the end of 2017 on the executive committee and board of directors of the Environmental Law Institute. She has chaired the American Bar Association’s (ABA) section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, its World Justice Task Force, and served on the ABA Presidential Force on Sustainable Development.
Ms. Dunn received a B.A. in political science from James Madison University followed by a J.D. from the Columbus School of Law, where she was elected editor-in-chief of the law review. She is a member of the bar in D.C., Maryland, and New York, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Secretary Matthew A. Beaton oversees the Commonwealth’s six environmental, natural resource and energy regulatory agencies, which include the Departments of Environmental Protection, Public Utilities, Energy Resources, Conservation & Recreation, Agricultural Resources, and Fish & Game. Secretary Beaton also serves as Chairman of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, the Energy Facilities Siting Board, and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
During his tenure, Secretary Beaton has worked to stabilize electricity rates and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through bi-partisan energy diversification and solar legislation, and advancing clean energy technologies. Under his leadership, the secretariat has further worked to address climate change by working with cities and towns to make their communities more resilient, and through the implementation of an Executive Order which lays out a comprehensive approach to adapt and prepare for the impacts of climate change.
Additionally, Secretary Beaton, an avid outdoorsman, continues to take action on the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to supporting the Commonwealth’s vital fishing and agricultural industries, expanding tree canopies within urban communities, ensuring all residents have access to outdoor recreational opportunities and the state’s extensive parks system, and conserving valuable land and natural resources for future generations.
Before being appointed to the cabinet post at Energy and Environmental Affairs, Secretary Beaton served as a State Representative. First elected in 2011, he was a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, the House Committee on Ethics, and the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. In the private sector, Secretary Beaton has worked as an environmental engineer and energy efficiency consultant.
Secretary Beaton earned a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a master’s degree in energy and environmental analysis from Boston University. Currently, Secretary Beaton lives with his wife Laura and their three young children in Shrewsbury, where he designed the first Passive House in Massachusetts, which does not rely on a furnace and has very little heating or cooling needs.
(biography from https://www.mass.gov/service-details/secretary-matthew-a-beaton)
Note: Secretary Beaton will be presenting with Katie Theoharides, Assistant Secretary of Climate Change
Speaker of the Massachusetts House
House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) has represented the Town of the Winthrop and a portion of the City of Revere in the Massachusetts House of Representatives since 1991.
In 2016, Speaker DeLeo prioritized legislation to help the Commonwealth meet its clean energy goals and upgrade the region’s energy infrastructure, ultimately resulting in a landmark law which will diversify Massachusetts’ energy portfolio and ensure a reliable electric grid by replacing older power sources that are due to retire. These measures will protect the Commonwealth’s ratepayers while enhancing renewable energy and securing a more sustainable future.
In 2014, Speaker DeLeo led the Legislature in passing a consensus-driven gun safety law that closes existing loopholes, creates a sustainable framework to stop gun trafficking and establishes best practices for school safety. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has noted that the legislation is among the strongest in the nation, including an important set of provisions existing in no other state. Under his leadership, the Legislature also passed updated domestic violence legislation which creates new criminal offenses and elevated penalties, boosts prevention efforts and seeks to empower victims.
Since becoming Speaker, DeLeo has spearheaded two economic development packages which focus on improving the Massachusetts economy through comprehensive strategies. He has been lauded for his effective and creative approach to job creation which leverages the strengths of diverse sectors to bolster the Commonwealth’s economy in its entirety and address regional inequalities. A 2014 Boston Globe article praised Speaker DeLeo as “one of the biggest champions of our innovation economy” and described him as “knowledgeable and fluent in getting things done, what the innovation economy needs.”
Under his leadership, the House of Representatives has made strides in helping to combat the current substance addiction epidemic. The Legislatures has passed two medically comprehensive substance addiction bills and increased funding for this public health crisis to unprecedented levels.
Previously, Speaker DeLeo brought nationally-heralded legislation that cut health care costs for cities and towns in Massachusetts. The same session, he initiated far-reaching judiciary reorganization legislation in concert with the chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court.
Speaker DeLeo’s priorities continue to include job creation, strong fiscal management and giving residents a competitive edge through educational opportunities.
(biography from: https://malegislature.gov/Legislators/Profile/RAD1)
MWRA Executive Director
Since 2001, Fred Laskey has served as the executive director of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority which provides drinking water and wastewater services for 2.5 million people in Massachusetts.
He manages 1,200 employees who operate this important infrastructure and has overseen over $2 billion of projects to complete the much heralded clean-up of Boston Harbor – including the Charles, Mystic and Neponset Rivers – and to upgrade the drinking water system to meet the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Under his leadership, MWRA has been recognized nationally for its sustainability and renewable energy initiatives. Fred graduated from UMass/Boston and lives in Medford with his wife Donna. They have four children.
Mayor of Newton
Mayor Ruthanne Fuller is the thirty-first Mayor of Newton and the first woman Mayor in Newton’s history. From leading her neighborhood association, analyzing Newton’s finances on commissions and serving four terms as a City Councilor At Large for Ward 7, Mayor Fuller has passionately served Newton over her twenty-five years of living in the city.
A graduate of Brown University and Harvard Business School, Mayor Fuller has decades of experience as a strategic planner in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Mayor Fuller brings a collaborative, strategy-driven approach to managing the City. She emphasizes data-driven decisions, frequent communication, and respect as essential to getting things done in the right way. Her priorities for Newton include proactively developing master plans for village centers and commercial corridors, making Newton’s schools the best in Massachusetts, strengthening Newton’s financial health, and fixing the roads and infrastructure. Mayor Fuller pays particular attention to children, seniors and those with special challenges.
Boston Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space
Austin Blackmon is Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space for the City of Boston. His Cabinet is comprised of the Inspectional Services Department, the Environment Department, and the Parks and Recreation Department. Mr. Blackmon serves as the Mayor’s appointee to the boards of the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA), Boston Groundwater Trust, Boston Harbor Now, and the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership. Mr. Blackmon also represents the City on the Green Ribbon Commission, the State’s Global Warming Solutions Act’s Implementation Advisory Committee and the State’s Energy Efficiency Advisory Council.
In his role, Mr. Blackmon oversees policy and programs on Energy, Climate Change, Sustainability, Building Safety, Historic Preservation and Open Space, including Climate Ready Boston, the Building Energy Reporting & Disclosure Ordinance, Rental Registry and Greenovate Boston, the city’s community outreach initiative on sustainability. Mr. Blackmon is currently leading efforts to implement Boston’s Climate Action Plan, which aims to reduce citywide greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.
Prior to his appointment with the City, Mr. Blackmon served as Interim Head of Project Finance at Terraverde Renewable Partners, a clean energy consulting firm focused on helping cities, school districts and companies implement solar projects and energy efficiency retrofits. His experience also includes positions at C12 Energy, Wells Fargo Securities’ Energy Group and Booz Allen Hamilton’s Strategy and Organization consulting practice. He also advised US Renewables Group by evaluating potential investments in waste recovery solutions.
Mr. Blackmon is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School.
(biography from: https://www.boston.gov/departments/environment/austin-blackmon)
William B. Golden
President and Co-founder, National Institute for Coastal and Harbor Infrastructure
William B. Golden is the co-founder and President of the National Institute for Coastal and Harbor Infrastructure (NICHIusa.org), a 501 c3 nonprofit focused on rising sea levels, extreme storms and aging infrastructure. Mr. Golden has over thirty-five years of experience working on environmental issues, as an attorney, a governmental official and as a private sector entrepreneur. Mr. Golden has served as staff on the United States President’s Advisory Council on Executive Organization, Environmental Task Force that drafted the enabling legislation that created USEPA and NOAA; as staff in the Office of the Administrator of USEPA; as Quincy City Solicitor; as a three term Massachusetts State Senator; as co-chair of a successful statewide hazardous waste cleanup referendum; as a member of the Stellwagen Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council; and as a member of the President’s Export Council. As City Solicitor for the City of Quincy, Mr. Golden filed the lawsuit that resulted in the first Boston Harbor Cleanup schedule and the creation of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. Mr. Golden has also served as a co-founder and Board Member of both Mass PIRG East and Save the Harbor, Save the Bay. As an Entrepreneur, Mr. Golden has served as founder and principal of an international consulting firm with offices in Boston, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Taipei and as principal in a geothermal management services company that managed and developed commercial geothermal generating facilities in Nevada. As the owner of two lightships, Mr. Golden and his wife Kristen own and operate a charter business. Mr. Golden graduated from Hebron Academy and has degrees from Yale University (BA), Harvard University Kennedy School of Government (MPA) and Boston University School of Law (JD).
NOAA/NWS/Northeast River Forecast Center Service Coordination Hydrologist
As a life long resident of the Boston Area, Ed received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Northeastern University.
Ed spent his first 20 plus years in the design and construction of Hydraulic Structures throughout North America and West Africa. Ed spent “wet season” years in the field in West Africa developing hydrologic/hydraulic information for design and construction of several large Dams for the International Committee on Large Dams (ICOLD).
Ed has spent the past 25 years with the National Weather Service Northeast River Forecast Center (NEFRFC) where he has held positions as Hydrometeorological Analysis and Support Forecaster, Senior Hydrologist, and currently the Service Coordination Hydrologist (SCH) in the office. As SCH, Ed has enhanced the Decision Support Services and Partner coordination/collaboration for the NWS River Forecast Center.
This year, Ed has completed his 43rd year as an NWS COOP observer station in Norton, Ma.
Program and Agenda
Morning Session – 9:00 AM
Perspectives from all levels of government (speaking times are approximate)
Fr. William P. Leahy , S.J. – President, B.C.
Lou Taverna – Chairman, MWRA Advisory Board
Joseph Favaloro – Executive Director, MWRA Advisory Board
(9:15 AM) Alexandra Dunn – EPA Region 1 Administrator
(9:30 AM) Ed Capone – NOAA/NWS/Northeast River Forecast Center Service Coordination Hydrologist
(9:45 AM) Bill Golden – NICHI President and Co-founder
(10:00 AM) Representative Robert DeLeo – Speaker of the Massachusetts House
(10:15 AM) Secretary Matt Beaton and Assistant Secretary Katie Theoharides – Executive Office of
Energy and Environmental Affairs
(10:30 AM) Austin Blackmon – Boston Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space
(10:45 AM) Fred Laskey – MWRA Executive Director
(11:00 AM) Mayor Ruthanne Fuller – City of Newton
Keynote and Closing Remarks
(11:15 AM) Gina McCarthy – Professor, Harvard Kennedy School
Box lunch provided for all attendees
Afternoon Session– 12:00 PM
Panel discussion focusing on community examples
Please note: the exact agenda and topics are still being finalized. Check back for more details!
Moderator: Sangita Chandra – Producer, “Chronicle”
Panelists: Cammy Peterson – Director of Clean Energy, MAPC
Steve Estes – Smargiassi – Director of Planning and Sustainability, MWRA
Rob King – Director of Capital Projects and Planning, City of Somerville
Deanna Moran – Director of Environmental Planning, CLF Massachusetts
Noah Snyder – Associate Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Boston College
Moderated by by Sangita Chandra, Producer of “Chronicle”
Sangita Chandra is an Emmy-winning and James Beard-nominated journalist at WCVB TV 5, Boston’s ABC television affiliate. As a producer for the nightly news and feature magazine program Chronicle, and former producer of the public affairs show CityLine, she has written and reported on a wide range of topics, from the environment to politics to food and the arts. For Chronicle, she has reported extensively on travel across New England and the Caribbean, examined the effects of climate change in greater Boston, hunted for gemstones in Maine, studied the history of chocolate, profiled groundbreaking artists and leaders for a franchise she started called “Game Changers,” spent years following the restoration of Boston’s Opera House, and reported from South Korea, where she had a chance to go inside the DMZ. A graduate of Wellesley College, Sangita has a double degree in English literature and political science. She began her broadcast career as an overnight news writer at WCVB and is former president of the New England chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA). She believes in mentoring the next generation of broadcast journalists, having trained more than 70 undergraduate and graduate students how to write and produce long-format stories. (Instagram and Twitter: @sangichandra)
Check out Sangita’s Climate Change Chronicle segments:
The aim of the panel is to help communities by providing answering questions, providing actionable steps, and pointing them towards resources so they can take to prepare for the effects of climate change upon their community.
(click below to read each panelist’s bio)
Steve Estes-Smargiassi – MWRA, Director of Planning and Sustainability
Stephen Estes-Smargiassi is a planner and an engineer. In his 30 years at the MWRA, he has lead or participated in all MWRA drinking water quality and master planning initiatives. As part of his responsibilities he managed the MWRA’s successful demand management programs, reducing water demand by over 140 million gallons per day; initiated its GIS system; and coordinated protection planning studies for the 400 square mile Quabbin, Ware River and Wachusett reservoir watersheds.
He has been active in research on water resource issues and climate change for almost 25 years, and has worked with the EPA, Army Corps, Congress, NCAR and the Water Research Foundation on this topic. He has led MWRA’s efforts to understand the impacts of climate change on MWRA’s water and wastewater systems, and to adapt to them. His team recently completed a greenhouse gas inventory demonstrating MWRA’s substantial progress in developing green energy resources, and improving energy efficiency.
Rob King – City of Somerville, Director of Capital Projects and Planning
Rob King serves as The City of Somerville’s Director of Capital Projects and Planning. Mr. King is responsible for guiding strategic planning processes and managing a team that is responsible for improvements across the City’s built environment, including: infrastructure (water, sewer, drainage), streetscape, accessibility improvements, and school and municipal buildings (32 buildings and 2.9 million square-feet of space).
In his eight years at the City of Somerville (formerly serving as the City’s Director of Engineering) he has worked closely with the Mayor’s administration to implement engineering and capital projects aimed at increasing the city’s climate resiliency and addressing expected climatic impacts to the city’s infrastructure.
Mr. King has also served as the Director of Municipal Engineering for the Town of Framingham and on the civil engineering teams at three private consulting firms.
Deanna Moran – CLF Massachusetts, Director of Environmental Planning
Deanna Moran serves as the Director of Environmental Planning at the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF). In this position, she oversees CLF’s climate resiliency activities for Southern New England and leads CLF’s climate preparedness and public access initiative for Boston Harbor. Ms. Moran is also co-author of the recently-released CLF report,Climate Adaptation and Liability.
Prior to joining CLF in 2016, Ms. Moran was a Fellow at a New Jersey-based community development organization where she worked with local governments, NGOs, and other stakeholders to devise and implement neighborhood revitalization strategies through the reclamation of vacant and abandoned properties. She also previously worked with the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance to produce the state’s first Climate and Health Profile report and conducted analyses on the health implications of climate impacts including heat.
Ms. Moran received a B.A. in environmental design from the University at Buffalo followed by a Master’s in City and Regional Planning and a Master’s in Public Policy from Rutgers University.
Cammy Peterson – MAPC, Director of Clean Energy
Cammy Peterson is the Director of Clean Energy at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), the regional planning agency that serves the 101 cities and towns of Metro Boston. Cammy oversees MAPC’s clean energy work, including local energy, climate, and net zero planning; regional procurements; and local and state climate and energy policy. She facilitates solar, renewable thermal, climate action, community energy resiliency, alternative fuel infrastructure, and energy efficiency program and policy development and cultivates partnerships with municipalities, community-based organizations, policymakers, and other energy stakeholders, including through the Metro Mayors Climate Preparedness Taskforce and Net Zero Commitment, to advance clean energy efforts throughout the Commonwealth. She further strives to integrate clean energy practices into all aspects of MAPC’s planning work. Prior to her work at MAPC, among other endeavors, Cammy managed the energy, environmental, and transportation policy and legislative portfolios for New York State Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh. She earned a Masters degree in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University, and she holds a Bachelor degree, cum laude, from Harvard University.
Noah Snyder - Boston College Director of Environmental Studies Program
Noah Snyder is a geomorphologist who studies the response of rivers to changes in land-use, climate and tectonics. He is an Associate Professor in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department and Director of the Environmental Studies Program at Boston College. He received his Ph.D from MIT in 2001, and conducted postdoctoral research for the US Geological Survey in northern California. Since arriving at Boston College in 2004, his research has focused on rivers and associated land-management issues, such as dam removal and increased flooding associated with climate change, in New England, publishing in journals such as the Geological Society of America Bulletin, Eos, Water Resources Research, and Geomorphology.
Over the past few months, communities have had to come face to face with the reality of storm impacts. Be it the Seaport District in Boston to any of our coastal communities, storms have caused severe flooding and significant impacts to the environment and our residents. With this in mind, the Advisory Board is dedicating our #MuniWorks community-based workshop series to examine climate change resiliency.
Are we ready for the next storm?
Storm damage to Boston Harbor Islands during the March nor’easters
(click to view)
Did you miss our Just the FAQs video on Climate Change and the MWRA system? Watch below!
Latest Blog Posts
April 23 Forum at the Massachusetts State House hosted by the National Institute for Coastal and Harbor Infrastructure
Board Briefs – PMD Update, Community Assistance Update, and Deer Island Storm Event
Upcoming stormwater conference in Portsmouth, NH
Reserve Your Spot
Friday, June 15th
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Yawkey Center at Boston College
(Murray Function Room)
Parking details to come
Walking Directions from Parking to Event
Map to Garage
Please note that this address (21 Campanella Way) is a private B.C. road, and may not show up in all GPS apps