LaJuana Wilcher to speak at national water conference

by Mandy Hicks

ELPO Law attorney, LaJuana S. Wilcher, Partner
LaJuana Wilcher

Attorney LaJuana Wilcher is speaking this week at the National Clean Water Law Seminar in Las Vegas. The seminar is designed for public agency attorneys and managers, and is offered by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies.

LaJuana and two other attorneys will serve on a panel on regulations that affect clean water agencies. The session is called “Stealth Regulation: A Mountain or Molehill?”

A summary of the panel discussion is below.

Clean water agencies are facing an increasingly aggressive regulatory environment. Some major policy decisions – oftentimes with significant permit implications – are being made not through a formal rulemaking process but through informal communications from regulatory agencies. Oftentimes referred to as “rulemaking by guidance,” this approach can include outlining new requirements through guidance documents, memos, or other “non-binding” communications, but can also occur when EPA pressures states behind the scenes to take certain actions that are actually driven by EPA’s regulatory preferences. Formal rulemaking incorporates transparency and public participation, which can bolster the quality and legitimacy of a regulation but can also slow the regulatory process and result in costly delays for regulated entities. This roundtable discussion will strip away the rhetoric and get to the heart of the issue of regulatory overreach. Experts will focus on ways to identify when regulatory overreach is occurring and legal strategies to deal with it, as well as on practical approaches to advancing the clean water sector’s position in dealings with EPA.

About LaJuana Wilcher

LaJuana Wilcher is a Partner at English Lucas Priest & Owsley LLP (ELPO). She began working with NACWA (then AMSA) in 1989, when she was nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water. In that position, she was responsible for national water policy, and promulgated stormwater, biosolids, and TMDL regulations, among others. She also convened and worked closely with the FACA group that developed the 1994 CSO Policy.
LaJuana worked on environmental law issues in Washington, D.C., for almost 20 years. She was a Partner in the DC offices of Winston & Strawn and LeBoeuf, Lamb Greene and MacRae LLP, where she served as legal counsel for NACWA and numerous municipalities in federal CWA litigation, permitting and enforcement matters. She has also served as a group facilitator, expert witness and legislative counsel on various CWA matters.
Returning to private law practice in her home state of Kentucky in 2002, LaJuana was a partner at ELPO until being tapped by Kentucky’s Governor to be Secretary of Kentucky’s Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet from 2003-2006, here she orchestrated a novel Consent Decree strategy with Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District.
LaJuana has developed and taught environmental law and policy courses at Vermont Law School and Vanderbilt University Law School. She was awarded NACWA’s Special Recognition Award in 1993 and State Public Service Award in 2006. She has been selected as a Lifetime Honorary Member of American Water Works Association and has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America every year since 2009. She speaks frequently throughout the country on environmental law and leadership issues.
LaJuana was a founding Board Member of America’s Clean Water Alliance (now the U.S. Water Alliance) and Friends of Mammoth Cave National Park, and is a Supervisor of the Warren County Conservation District. She owns and operates Scuffle Hill Farm, growing grass-fed Angus cattle, hay and horses, including the 2007 Kentucky Derby Winner.