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James L. Connaughton
Chairman, Council on Environmental Quality

James Connaughton

James L. Connaughton was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on June 14 and appointed by President Bush on June 18, 2001 to serve as the Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). In this capacity, he serves as the senior environmental, energy and natural resources advisor to the President as well as Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, which oversees the development of environmental policy, coordinates interagency implementation of environmental programs, and mediates key policy disagreements among Federal agencies, state, tribal and local governments and private citizens.

During President Bush’s first term, Mr. Connaughton coordinated the development of major Administration initiatives including the national clean air strategy; healthy forests restoration legislation; historic multi-billion expansion of Farm Bill conservation programs; the new wetlands restoration initiative to increase overall wetlands acres and quality; the expansion and acceleration of clean-up and redevelopment of abandoned industrial sites known as brownfields; comprehensive climate change strategy; clean technology initiatives; environmental cooperation agreements with our free trade partners; G-8 action plan and international partnerships for sustainable development; and implementation of modernized environmental management systems across the federal government.

Prior to joining the Bush Administration, Mr. Connaughton was a partner in the law firm Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, in its Environmental Practice Group, covering a wide range of environmental policy issues, such as environmental management and compliance assurance systems, legislation, regulation, international trade and standards, and ecological risk and natural resource damages assessment.

From 1993 until 2001, Mr. Connaughton served as one of the lead U.S. negotiators of the ISO 14000 series of international environmental consensus standards. Mr. Connaughton also worked with officials from U.S. EPA, California EPA, and the Environmental Law Institute to help form the Multi-State Work Group on Environmental Management Systems ("MSWG").

Mr. Connaughton has extensive experience helping organizations large and small become responsible environmental stewards through effective environmental management and compliance assurance systems. This work has covered the electronics, transportation, consumer products, home improvement, energy management, and mining sectors, in North America, Mexico, Venezuela and Asia.

Mr. Connaughton began his career working on behalf of asbestos victims who worked in the major construction trades.

Mr. Connaughton is a graduate of Yale University and graduated second in his class, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, from the Northwestern University School of Law. At Northwestern, he was an Austin Scholar and served as Coordinating Articles Editor of the Northwestern University Law Review. Following Law School, he clerked for U.S. District Judge Marvin Aspen in the Northern District of Illinois.

Mr. Connaughton is an avid vocal harmony singer, sailor, scuba diver, and beachcomber.