Stephen E. Roady

Senior Lecturing Fellow


Steve Roady is an environmental lawyer at Earthjustice (formerly the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund) who has pioneered litigation to preserve ocean resources and has also litigated precedent-setting cases that protect water resources and improve the nation’s air quality. Most recently, he has been pursuing cases designed to protect the Gulf of Mexico, and to prevent the mountains and streams of southern West Virginia from being destroyed by mountaintop removal coal mining.

Mr. Roady’s experience covers a wide range of issues. During 1989 and 1990, he served as counsel to United States Senator John H. Chafee on a number of environmental matters in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, including air quality improvement (he helped draft the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990), coastal barrier island protection, water pollution control, and hazardous waste regulation. During the 1980’s and 1990’s, he assisted various companies with their efforts to comply with the Clean Air Act and the Superfund statute. During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, he participated in litigation against the Army Corps of Engineers - challenging the construction of water projects that risked altering important United States river systems.

During 1998-2000, Mr. Roady was the director of the Ocean Law Project, an initiative designed to conserve ocean resources, including fisheries, marine mammals, sea turtles, and ocean ecosystems. The Ocean Law Project employed litigation and negotiation to ensure that the United States government properly conserves these resources.

During 2001 and 2002, Mr. Roady was the first president of Oceana, a non-profit international ocean conservation organization dedicated to protecting life in the sea through public education, advocacy, communications, science, and litigation.

Mr. Roady graduated with honors from Davidson College in 1971, and received his law degree from Duke University in 1976. He teaches environmental litigation both at Duke and at American University. In addition, he teaches ocean and coastal law and policy at Duke. He serves on the Board of Visitors at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. Harvard Law School has named him a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow for 2007-2008.

Selected Works