Law School’s David Uhlmann nominated for EPA post


The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is scheduled to conduct a confirmation hearing Aug. 11 for University of Michigan law professor David Uhlmann, who was nominated by President Biden to serve as assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Uhlmann, who joined the Law School faculty in 2007 as the Jeffrey F. Liss Professor from Practice and the inaugural director of the Environmental Law and Policy Program, would take a leave of absence if he’s confirmed for the EPA position.

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David Uhlmann

An internationally recognized expert on environmental law, he is a leading authority on criminal enforcement of the environmental laws in the United States, and a highly regarded advocate for environmental stewardship and corporate sustainability programs.

Uhlmann previously served for 17 years as a federal prosecutor, including seven years as the chief of the Environmental Crimes Section at the U.S. Department of Justice. In that role, he led the prosecution of environmental and wildlife crimes nationwide, coordinated national legislative, policy and training initiatives regarding criminal enforcement, and chaired the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Policy Committee.

 At the Justice Department, Uhlmann earned a reputation for prosecuting polluters aggressively and fairly, presided over an expansion of the environmental crimes program, and strengthened relationships with the EPA, the Coast Guard and other law enforcement partners.

His work as lead prosecutor in United States v. Elias, a tragic knowing endangerment case that left a 20-year-old worker severely and permanently brain-damaged, is chronicled in “The Cyanide Canary.” He received numerous Justice Department and EPA awards for his precedent-setting prosecutions, including the first environmental justice criminal trial.

He received a juris doctor degree from Yale Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science with high honors from Swarthmore College. Following law school, he clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Shoob in Atlanta.

(Note: This article has been amended from a previous version to reflect that Uhlmann’s confirmation hearing, originally scheduled for Aug. 4, has been postponed to Aug. 11.)


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