WASHINGTON, D.C. ― Dec. 22, 2019, will mark the 50th Anniversary of the Environmental Law Institute. While ELI’s official birthday is still nearly a year away, ELI will celebrate its 50th during the entirety of 2019, holding special events, programs, and publications that look back at the last 50 years and look forward to the next.
ELI traces its origins to a national conference on the emerging field of environmental law held at the Airlie House in Virginia in September 1969.
Attended by 50 lawyers, practitioners, and academics from across the country, the conference had a significant impact on the legal profession by initiating fertile exchange among many lawyers who were breaking new ground. Importantly, the gathering proposed creating ELI and the Environmental Law Reporter (ELR), which would soon become the first publication to broadly address the legal questions of environmental management.
Guided by its founders—the Conservation Foundation and the Public Law Education Institute—ELI was incorporated Dec. 22, 1969, as a §501(c)(3) organization, the very same day Congress passed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). ELI held its first education program in October 1970, released the first issue of ELR in January 1971, and became an independent organization in 1972.
ELI has since grown to become a major research, education, and publication center for the full range of environmental professionals. Often described as a one-of-a kind environmental law think-and-do tank, ELI today offers a non-partisan, objective forum; convening capacity and in-house technical strength; and first-rate research, educational programs, and publications.