WELC Blog: Welcome, Tom Singer!

It is my pleasure to announce that Tom Singer, Ph.D., has joined WELC as a Senior Policy Advisor. Tom will work in our climate and energy program, helping us speed the West’s transition away from dirty fossil fuels toward energy efficiency and clean, carbon-free energy. Tom’s extensive policy and economics expertise reflects our ongoing commitment to combat climate change and will strengthen our legal advocacy work. 

Tom comes to us from the Natural Resources Defense Council, where he was a Senior Advocate working on climate and energy issues. In that capacity, Tom served as the Chairman of former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson’s Energy Efficiency Task Force, worked successfully on passage and implementation of New Mexico’s law establishing renewable energy and energy efficiency resource standards, and, with WELC, helped promulgate pioneering reporting protocols for greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry. Prior to NRDC, Tom, among other positions, was the Director of Research for the Western Governors’ Association. With considerable advocacy experience and impeccable academic credentials—a Ph.D. in International Business from The George Washington University, an MBA from Stanford University, and an AB, magna cum laude, from Harvard University—Tom will provide significant added capacity to our climate and energy advocacy efforts.

Tom’s expertise complements our extensive west-wide work to mitigate, if not prevent, many of the climate impacts of domestic oil and natural gas development. While at NRDC, Tom co-authored Leaking Profits, a groundbreaking study that identified proven technologies and practices to reduce, if not eliminate, 80% of methane pollution from oil and natural gas systems. In the coming years, we see great opportunity to modernize laws and policies to prevent methane pollution from leaking into the atmosphere and instead to remain in the pipelines for use by homes, schools, and businesses. Tom will help us seize those opportunities by providing considerable economics and policy expertise that will augment our legal team. 

Of course, keeping methane emissions out of the atmosphere is a good thing, but it doesn’t obviate the need to ensure that we’re using as little coal, oil, and natural gas as possible. Tom’s expertise with energy efficiency and clean, carbon-free energy—and his deep understanding of electric utilities operations and regulators—is also essential. In particular, Tom will help us identify equitable ways to transition fossil fuel dependent communities toward more durable, lasting economies based on clean, carbon free energy from the sun and wind.  

As an attorney in WELC’s climate and energy program, I’ve had the good fortune to work with Tom over the past several years. He’s one of the most thoughtful, smart, and dedicated environmental advocates with whom I’ve worked. Now, as WELC’s Executive Director, I am pleased to have him join our staff. Please welcome Tom to the WELC family!

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Erik Schlenker-Goodrich

Erik was appointed Executive Director in 2012. He joined WELC as an attorney in 2003 and has worked to safeguard our climate from dirty fossil fuels, promote our transition to the efficient use of carbon free, renewable energy, and protect the American West’s rivers and wildlands. Before taking over the reins, Erik served as both the director of the Southwest office (Taos, N.M.) and of WELC's Climate & Energy Program. Prior to joining WELC, he worked for The Wilderness Society as an attorney on public lands issues. Erik is a graduate of Cornell University with a B.S. in Natural Resources, and earned his law degree and an Environmental and Natural Resources Law Certificate from the University of Oregon School of Law. Erik works from our Southwest Office, 575-751-0351 x 137.

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This blog explores inside information from WELC's smart, dedicated attorneys, scientists and policy experts who have committed their lives to defending the American West. Our experts take their unique knowledge, mix it with long hours of reflection in the saddle of a bicycle, hiking a long & winding trail, paddling a river, or skiing the mountains and share with you their insights and perspectives. We hope you enjoy the results!