Man with beard in suit jacket

Edward Lloyd

  • (1948–2023)

Edward Lloyd, a leading environmental activist and crusading public interest lawyer who founded the Environmental Law Clinic at Columbia Law School, where he taught for 21 years, died on August 5. He was 74.

Lloyd, Evan M. Frankel Clinical Professor Emeritus in Environmental Law, was a pioneering figure in the environmental law community, particularly in New Jersey, where he lived. Lloyd was regarded as that state’s most prominent environmental lawyer for his role in preventing sewage from being dumped into waterways, which protected sensitive lands and safeguarded communities from hazardous waste. 

“Despite his gentle demeanor, anyone who knew Ed well understood that he was both a fierce advocate and formidable legal foe,” said Gillian Lester, Dean and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law. “Generations of his students have gone on to fight the fight as extraordinarily well-trained environmental lawyers, inspired by Ed’s indefatigable sense of purpose and justice.”

As director of Columbia Law’s Environmental Law Clinic, Lloyd provided hands-on legal training to scores of future lawyers as they represented organizations working to solve critical environmental challenges. Under his aegis, the clinic took on a broad range of activities, such as examining the environmental impacts of pipeline development over, under, or through the Delaware River. The clinic’s notable victories included drafting an amicus brief that led a federal court in 2018 to order the EPA to ban chlorpyrifos, a toxic pesticide linked to brain damage in children; working on the case that led the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court to overturn key parts of the state’s 2012 natural gas development law that would have stripped municipalities of zoning rights and given state agencies sole authority to determine where hydraulic fracturing could take place; and representing Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Community Board 1, and the Greenpoint/Williamsburg Waterfront Task Force in a 2008 challenge to a proposed power plant on the East River waterfront in Brooklyn.

“I want my students to take away a number of skills from this clinic: listening carefully to their clients and analyzing strategies—including litigation, policy change, possible regulatory reform,” Lloyd once said. 

Alumni of the Environmental Law Clinic have gone on to work at the Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency, Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council, and other public interest organizations and government agencies. “Even if students choose not to practice environmental law,” Lloyd said, “I hope they take with them a sense of the breadth and depth of the environmental challenges facing this country and the world.” 

Susan Kraham ’92, a former staff attorney for the Environmental Law Clinic who is now an attorney at Earthjustice, characterized Lloyd as “a rare combination of effective and assertive litigator, reasonable negotiator, engaging teacher, and gentle mentor. The people and places he touched are better off for his care.”

Melding Law and Science

Lloyd graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in chemistry in 1970 and received a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1973. He began his career at the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group, an organization that advocates on behalf of consumers, where he was executive director and staff attorney. In 1985, he founded the Environmental Law Clinic at Rutgers University Law School, which he directed for 15 years before joining the Columbia Law faculty in 2000. He also served on the academic committee of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and on the board of directors of the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law.

Beyond the academy, Lloyd maintained a full docket of environmental work. He was a longtime member of the New Jersey Pinelands Commission, which oversees preservation and development in the 1.1 million–acre Pinelands National Reserve in South Jersey, and he fought threats to its sovereignty. He was co-founder and co-chair of the Eastern Environmental Law Center, the sole public interest environmental law firm in New Jersey, and he was a member of the Litigation Review Committee of the Environmental Defense Fund and of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Environmental Litigation. Lloyd also testified before the U.S. congressional and legislative committees on issues including energy conservation, solar power, clean water standards and regulations, freedom of information, water supply planning and conservation, and solid waste.

During his lifetime, Lloyd received numerous honors and awards, including the NY/NJ Baykeeper Award (2000), the Sierra Club Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award (2005), and the Environmental Stewardship Award from EarthShare New Jersey (2014). He was hailed by the New Jersey Work Environment Council in 2013 for his “tireless efforts and dedication to protecting the environment and health and safety of workers and communities.” When he was honored by the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters at its Green Tie Gala in 2018, the State of New Jersey Senate and General Assembly passed a resolution commending him as “a man of outstanding character and exceptional determination.”

Lloyd is survived by his wife, Janine Bauer; their son, Alexander E. Lloyd ’19; and their daughter, Abigail Lloyd.