Patrice L. Simms

Associate Professor and Environmental Externship Coordinator

J.D. Howard University School of Law, cum laude
B.S. Northeastern University, summa cum laude


Biography

Professor Patrice Lumumba Simms is currently an Associate Professor of Law at Howard University School of Law. His areas of focus are Environmental Law, Clean Air and Climate Change, Environmental Justice, Administrative Law, and Energy Law. He also teaches first-year courses in Property and Legal Methods. Professor Simms, a 1998 graduate of Howard University School of Law and former Articles Editor for the Howard Law Journal, has taught environmental law courses since 2008, and joined the full time faculty at Howard Law in 2009. Among other things, he now serves as Faculty Advisor to the Howard Law Journal and to the Howard Energy and Environmental Law Society. His current writing projects address issues of Environmental Justice and matters relating to the life-cycle impacts of coal.

From February 2010 until August 2011, Professor Simms served in a political appointment with the Obama administration as a Deputy Assistance Attorney General in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. In that position, Professor Simms supervised the Division’s Law and Policy SectionLand Acquisition Section, and Environmental Defense Section, in addition to managing a number of special projects within the Division, including the Division’s Environmental Justice implementation efforts. Over the course of his career Professor Simms served for more than five years as a staff attorney in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of General Counsel (Air and Radiation Law Office), for nearly two years as a legal counsel to EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board, and for four years as a Senior Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. While his professional career has focused largely on issues regarding the implementation and enforcement of the Clean Air Act, it has also included significant litigation and policy work on matters related to clean water, solid waste, natural resources, public health, climate change and Environmental Justice.

Throughout his career, Professor Simms has been involved in cutting-edge environmental litigation and policy development, from international arbitration under NAFTA (regarding MTBE in gasoline), to Clean Water Act litigation regarding Everglades protection and restoration, to implementation of new source review under the federal Clean Air Act. He has, throughout his career, published articles and policy papers on timely legal issues, such the risks of and regulatory options for engineered nanomaterials (with Jennifer Sass and Elliott Negin), health and safety concerns in the wake of hurricane Katrina (with Benfield et al.), Environmental Justice (with Dimple Chaudhary and Albert Huang), coal and climate change (with Lashof, et al.), and Clean Air Act permitting (with John Walke). Professor Simms is a member of the Massachusetts Bar and the District of Columbia Bar, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court Bar and D.C. Circuit. He has served on numerous environmental task forces, panels, and committees, including the steering committee for the D.C. Bar’s Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Section.

Among other things, he is currently a member of the Commission on Environmental Law for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and a member of the Board of Trustees for Earthjustice.


Publications

Jennifer Sass, Patrice Simms, and Elliott Negin, Nanotechnologies: The Promise and the Peril, 7 SUSTAINABLE DEV. LAW & POLICY 3 (Spring 2006).

Sustainable Development Law & Policy - Volume VI, Issue 3

Dimple Chaudhary, Albert Huang, and Patrice Simms, Making Environmental Justice a National Priority, RESPONSIVE PHILANTHROPY (Summer 2006).

Making Environmental Justice a National Priority

Patrice Simms and John Walke, ‘B’ Is for Best: BACT Analysis Under the Clean Air Act’s PSD Program, EM (Nov. 2006).

IPEP quarterly

Lashof et al., Coal in a Changing Climate, NRDC Issue Paper (FEB. 2007).

Coal in a Changing Climate - NRDC Issue Paper February 2007

Fields, Huang, Rotkin-Ellman, Simms, Solomon, Katrina’s Wake, Arsenic-Laced Schools and Playgrounds Put New Orleans Children at Risk, NRDC Issue Paper (Aug. 2007).

Katrina’s Wake - August 2007

Benfield et al., After Katrina, New Solutions for Safe Communities and a Secure Energy Future, NRDC Report (Sept. 2005).
Natural Resources Defense Council 


Professional Contributions

From February 2010 until August 2011, Professor Simms served in a political appointment with the Obama administration as a Deputy Assistance Attorney General in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. In that position, Professor Simms supervised the Division’s Law and Policy SectionLand Acquisition Section, and Environmental Defense Section, in addition to managing a number of special projects within the Division, including the Division’s Environmental Justice implementation efforts.

During his appointment, Professor Simms was presented with the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service (the Justice Department’s second highest award) as part of a team working on water quality issues in the Florida Everglades. Professor Simms has been a frequent speaker, panelist, and moderator on issues regarding environmental law, public health, and environmental justice. He has testified before Congress, and made appearances on radio and film. In 2011 he was identified by the Hip-Hop Caucus and 350.org as among 350 African-Americans Enriching Life on Our Planet.

During his career, Professor Simms has served on numerous environmental panels, task forces, and committees, such as EPA’s Advance Coal Technology Working Group. He also recently completed service as a member of the steering committee for the D.C. Bar’s Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Section, and currently serves as a member of the Commission on Environmental Law for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and as a member of the Board of Trustees for Earthjustice.