UNM School of Law Professor Cliff Villa has been asked by the President Joe Biden Administration to serve as a political appointee to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As a senior advisor to the EPA Office of Land and Emergency Management, Villa’s expertise will come into play around the use of federal resources, including funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law, that aims to support administration priorities for addressing climate change and promoting environmental justice.

Cliff Villa
UNM School of Law Professor Cliff Villa

As a faculty member with the UNM School of Law, Villa has taught seminars on Environmental Justice and published extensively in the field, including as lead author of the book, Environmental Justice: Law, Policy & Regulation, in use by law schools across the country. Villa has also pursued environmental justice directly through work as a supervising attorney in the law school’s Natural Resources and Environmental Law clinic section. 

“We are so proud of Professor Villa and this wonderful acknowledgment of his knowledge and talents. Professor Villa’s appointment is a testimony to the excellence of our faculty and our Natural Resources and Environmental Law Program,” said Dean Camille Carey, UNM School of Law.

Prior to joining the School of Law in 2015, Villa served for more than twenty years as an attorney for the EPA, based in different regional offices, and beginning his legal career with EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

“We will miss Cliff while he is away, but his EPA position is great news for both him and the agency,” said Reed Benson, UNM’s Natural Resources and Environmental Law Program director. “This appointment will allow him to help communities and promote environmental justice across the country.”

Villa anticipates beginning his appointment on Aug. 29.