Jim McElfish

Senior Attorney; Director, Sustainable Use of Land Program
Environmental Law Institute

Jim McElfish is a Senior Attorney and Director, Sustainable Use of Land Program at the Environmental Law Institute, where his research focuses on development choices and their links to land use, water resources, biological diversity, and infrastructure policy. ELI’s Sustainable Use of Land Program makes connections among laws, policies, taxes, investments, and land use decisions. His work includes research on coastal zone activities, renewable energy siting, enforcement, and conservation outcomes. 

McElfish served as representative of the natural environment on the American Planning Association’s multi-year Growing Smarter Legislative Guidebook Directorate. McElfish also leads ELI programs on water resources, examining how watersheds and resources can be evaluated, used, conserved, and restored. 

He is a nationally recognized authority on NEPA and a former litigator in private practice and with the Department of the Interior. McElfish has been an ELI Senior Attorney since 1986.


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