Attorney LaJuana Wilcher speaks at national water quality conference

by Mandy Hicks

LaJuana Wilcher
LaJuana Wilcher

LaJuana Wilcher, a partner at ELPO, presented at the National Clean Water Law & Enforcement Seminar, Nov. 14 to 16 at the U.S. Grant Hotel in San Diego. Her topic was CSO Policy: The Best Laid Plans. It covers the topic of Combined Sewer Overflow policy.

LaJuana is a frequent speaker at environmental law events. A description of her session is below.

CSO Policy: The Best Laid Plans

When the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) policy was drafted 35 years ago, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Water (OW) intended for the Policy to provide new, innovative approaches to a complex conundrum: How to move CSO communities to tackle wet weather discharges in a reasoned, cost-effective way, and to provide POTWs with a degree of regulatory certainty. OW recognized that then-existing permitting regulations could not accommodate an approach that considered risks AND costs, and it worked with diverse stakeholders to develop a Policy intended to solve that problem. What happened? How did the Policy morph into a federal formula for payment of predetermined percentages of household income to address CSOs? Go behind the scenes with the former Assistant Administrator for Water who spearheaded the development of the Policy to understand its development and intent, and look ahead at the need to implement the Policy as intended during post-construction permitting.

About LaJuana Wilcher

LaJuana S. Wilcher is a partner at English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP. During her career, she has been a trial lawyer, served in senior policy positions in the federal and state governments, taught law at Vanderbilt University Law School and Vermont Law School, and represented corporate, municipal and not-for-profit clients in private law practice throughout the country.

Nominated by President George H.W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 1989, Ms. Wilcher was USEPA’s senior official in the Office of Water, where she managed legislative, policy and program matters, and served as EPA’s lead representative in the $1.3 billion Exxon Valdez oil spill negotiations. She served as Assistant Administrator for Water at at the EPA from 1989 to 1993.

As a partner with Winston & Strawn (1993-1996) and LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacCrae (1996-2002) in Washington, DC, she counseled multinational corporations on strategic, policy, legislation and litigation matters. She returned to her hometown of Bowling Green, KY in 2002, and soon was tapped to serve as Cabinet Secretary for Kentucky’s Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet, which consolidated over 30 regulatory agencies, including the Departments of Environmental Protect, Labor, Financial Institutions, Insurance, Mine Safety and Alcoholic Beverage Control, as well as the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, among others. In 2006, she returned to private practice at ELPO, where she handles a variety of regulatory and legislative matters, but focuses on environmental issues.

Ms. Wilcher has been listed in Best Lawyers in America since 2009. She serves on the WKU Ogden College Advisory Council, the Warren County Conservation District and the Friends of Mammoth Cave National Park Board. She and her husband, Ed Tivol, live in Alvaton, Kentucky, where they operate Scuffle Hill Farm, growing alfalfa hay and grass-fed, free-range, Angus cattle.