Executive Director, Earth Law Center
Linda Sheehan brings 20 years of environmental law and policy experience to Earth Law Center. Most recently, Ms. Sheehan took action on behalf of California’s waterways and ocean habitats as Executive Director of the California Coastkeeper Alliance, where she represented California’s 12 Waterkeeper organizations on statewide water quality and water flow issues. Prior to the Coastkeeper Alliance, Ms. Sheehan ran the Pacific Region Office of the Ocean Conservancy, advocating for clean coastal waters, healthy fish populations, and vibrant ocean habitats. Among other efforts, Ms. Sheehan has successfully advanced federal and state legislation, policy and litigation initiatives to: increase enforcement of clean water laws, provide state water quality data to the public, curtail sewage spills, boost water monitoring, conserve designated marine parks, improve oil spill prevention and response, control marine invasive species, reduce polluted runoff discharges, expand implementation of sustainable water supply strategies, and create new funding sources to ensure healthy waters.
For her efforts in “fight[ing] pollution of the Pacific and the streams and rivers that flow into it,” Ms. Sheehan was recognized as a 2009 “California Coastal Hero” by Sunset Magazine and the California Coastal Commission.
Ms. Sheehan came to Earth Law Center after recognizing, based on years of experience working at the highest levels of California environmental policymaking, that the deep flaws in our current legal system will inevitably prevent us from reaching our desired goal of a healthy planet. Ms. Sheehan uses her extensive research, partnership-building and advocacy skills at Earth Law Center to move from this flawed world-view toward a transformation of environmental consciousness and awareness achieved through advocacy for rights of nature in California and elsewhere.
Ms. Sheehan holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.P.P. from the University of California, Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy, where she was a Berkeley Policy Fellow, and a J.D. from the University of California's Boalt Hall School of Law. She is also a Research Affiliate with the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, providing collaborative support for the University’s related "green legal theory" of rights for nature. Ms. Sheehan is a contributing author to Exploring Wild Law: The Philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence, published by Wakefield Press in 2011.