Executive Committee 2011-2012



Irma S. RussellChair:
Irma S. Russell
The University of Montana
Missoula, MT

Irma S. Russell, Chair of the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, is Dean and Professor of Law at The University of Montana School of Law. Prior to coming to Montana, Dean Russell was the NELPI Professor and Director of the National Energy-Environment Law & Policy Institute at the University of Tulsa College of Law.Among the courses she has taught are Environmental Law, International Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law, Professional Responsibility, Administrative Law, Contracts, and Appellate Advocacy. She has written and lectured on topics relating to sustainability, energy law, environmental law, and ethics. Additionally, she has authored two books, Mastering Contract Law (with co-author Barbara Bucholtz 2011), and Issues of Legal Ethics in the Practice of Environmental Law (ABA 2003). Dean Russell earned two undergraduate degrees (liberal arts and education), a master’s degree in English literature, and her law degree at the University of Kansas.

Russell currently serves on the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism and is also Chair of the AALS Section on Socio-Economics and Chair-Elect of the AALS Section on Natural Resources. For the Section, she has served as Education Officer, Chair of the Strategic Response Committee, Chair and Vice-Chair of the Ethics Committee, and Section Liaison to the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility. She was founding Chair of the Memphis Bar Association Environmental Law Section and served as Chair of the Tennessee Bar Association Environmental Section. Dean Russell is an elected member of the American Law Institute and The American College of Environmental Lawyersand a member of Phi Kappa Phi, the Judicial Conference for the Tenth Judicial Circuit, and the American Bar Association.

Alexandra Dapolito DunnChair Elect:
Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators (ASIWPCA)
Washington, DC

Alexandra Dapolito Dunn is Vice Chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources. She curently is the Executive Director and General Counsel of the Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators (ASIWPCA). Prior to this she was the Assistant Dean for the Environmental Program Pace University School of Law and Adjunct Professor of Law (Environmental Justice, Human Rights and the Environment) in White Plains, NY. Previously, Ms. Dunn served as General Counsel of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA). She also was Counsel to the American Chemistry Council in Arlington, Virginia. She began her legal career as an environmental associate in the D.C. office of Winston & Strawn. Dunn has represented parties, intervenors, or amicus curiae in over 25 federal and state environmental cases. She is admitted to the District of Columbia, New York, and Maryland bars, the U.S. Supreme Court, and federal circuit and district courts. Dunn earned her J.D. in 1994, magna cum laude, from the Columbus School of Law, Catholic University of America, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Catholic University Law Review and was selected as the Outstanding Woman Law Graduate and received a Dean’s Award for Dedicated Service to the Law School Community. She earned her BA in 1989, cum laude, in Political Science and French from James Madison University.

William L. PennyVice Chair:
William L. Penny
Stites & Harbison PLLC
Nashville, TN

William L. Penny (“Bill”) is a member of the law firm of Stites & Harbison, PLLC in the Nashville, Tennessee office. He has practiced in the environmental law field for nearly 30 years. Before entering the private practice of law he was general counsel for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and its predecessor agencies for 10 years. His practice includes environmental remediation, water quality and wetlands, RCRA, CERCLA and UST regulatory and litigation matters before federal, state and local agencies and courts. He was the founding chair of the Environmental Law Sections of the Tennessee and Nashville Bar Associations. He is the principal author of A Practical Guide to Tennessee Environmental Law, has authored numerous articles on environmental law, maintains the Tennessee Environmental Law Blog and is a frequent speaker both nationally and locally on environmental law. He received his Bachelor of Arts from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1975 and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Nashville School of Law in 1981. He is an instructor at the Nashville School of Law in Environmental Law and Administrative Law. In the Fall (unless there is an ABA event) you can find Bill at a University of Tennessee Football game either in Knoxville or wherever they play.

Channing MartinBudget Officer:
Channing J. Martin
Williams Mullen
Richmond, VA

Channing J. Martin is Chair of the Environmental Law Group at Williams Mullen in its Richmond, Virginia office. He has practiced environmental law for more than 30 years, and he regularly represents clients, including manufacturers, electric utility power plants, foundries, petroleum companies and trade associations, in connection with permitting, compliance and enforcement matters before regulatory agencies and in state and federal court.

Within the Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, Channing has served as Chair of the 2010 Fall Meeting, Editor-in-Chief of Trends (the Section’s bi-monthly publication) and as a member of the Education and the Membership Services Groups. He is past Chair of the Virginia State Bar’s Environmental Law Section, and founder and past Chair of the Richmond Bar Association’s Environmental Law Section.

Channing is listed in Chambers U.S.A. America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Virginia Super Lawyers, Virginia’s Legal Elite and The Best Lawyers in America. He is author of numerous articles and chapters in national publications, including the Virginia chapters of Brownfields Law and Practice (LEXIS Publishing) and an upcoming Section book on institutional controls.

Active in civic affairs, Channing currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee of United Way of Richmond & Greater Petersburg and previously was Chair of the Greater Richmond United Way Campaign.

Channing received his B.S. in 1975 and his J.D. in 1979 from Washington & Lee University. He was a clerk to the Honorable A. Christian Compton of the Supreme Court of Virginia. In his spare time, he likes to sail.

Walter D. James IIISecretary:
Walter D. James III
James PLLC
Colleyville, TX

Walter D. James III is the founder of James PLLC. Prior to opening his solo practice in 2004, Walt practiced in the large law firm format in Dallas and Houston, TX. Walt’s practice, since 1987, has been focused primarily on environmental counseling and environmental litigation, which includes civil and criminal enforcement, cost recovery litigation and toxic tort/property damage matters. He has extensive experience in counseling clients in remediation matters nationally, both at federal and various state sites, including CERCLA and various state voluntary remediation programs. His environmental litigation experience covers administrative proceedings under various federal and state environmental statutes, defending and prosecuting cost recovery litigation under both state and federal law (in both state and federal court) and prosecuting and defending citizen suits. Walt has served as common and coordinating counsels for several defense groups and potentially responsible party groups. Walt is also the author of the Environmental Crimes Blog, the only blog dedicated solely to environmental criminal matters.

Walt is a native Nebraskan, transplanted to Texas and still bleeds Husker Red. In his spare time, Walt plays golf.

Michelle DiffenderferEducation Officer:
Michelle Diffenderfer
Lewis, Longman & Walker, P.A.
West Palm Beach, FL

Michelle Diffenderfer is the Education Officer for the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources and has been a leader in the Section for the past 8 years. Mrs. Diffenderfer is a shareholder in the Florida law firm of Lewis, Longman & Walker, P.A., and is the Chair of LLW’s Natural Resources and Everglades Practice Groups. Mrs. Diffenderfer counsels public and private clients on environmental, water, natural resources, sustainability and land use issues.

Mrs. Diffenderfer serves on Palm Beach County’s Homeless Advisory Board; serves as General Counsel to the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches and the not for profit Northwood GREENlife, Inc.; is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation; and is a Past-Chair of the Environmental and Land Use Law Section of the Florida Bar.

Mrs. Diffenderfer holds an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell and was rated a 2010 Florida Super Lawyer in the area of Environmental Law. Mrs. Diffenderfer received the ATHENA® Award in 2008 which honors individuals that have achieved professional excellence, actively served the community, and helped women to reach their leadership potential.

Mrs. Diffenderfer received her BA, with honors, in Educational Studies from Brown University in 1990 and earned her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the University of Miami, School of Law in 1994. Michelle lives in West Palm Beach, Florida with her husband Bob and their two daughters.

William W. KinseyMembership Officer:
William W. Kinsey
Bonneville Power Administration
Portland, OR

Mr. Kinsey is a senior attorney with the Bonneville Power Administration who has had responsibility for multiple environment, fish, and wildlife matters since 1988. He concentrates on issues related to operation and configuration of Federal hydroelectric projects consistent with environmental laws. His particular area of specialty has been to advise Bonnevile with regard to the protection and recovery of endangered species. He is a graduate of Stanford University (B.A. 1971 (Economics)) and the Harvard Law School (J.D. 1975). He has significant interest in energy and environmental issues and engages in various outdoor activities in the Pacific Northwest. He also participates in community activities in Portland, Oregon, where he is a native and long-time resident.

Steven T. MianoPublications Officer:
Steven T.  Miano
Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin
Philadelphia, PA

Mr. Miano is a Shareholder in the Environmental Department of Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin in Philadelphia, PA. He has been practicing environmental law for over twenty years. His practice includes all facets of environmental law and litigation. His clients include industrial corporations, commercial entities and municipalities. Before private practice, Mr. Miano was an Assistant Regional Counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, Hazardous Waste Branch. He is an Adjunct Professor at Rutgers University Law School where he teaches courses on environmental law. He is a frequent lecturer and has written on various environmental legal issues for a variety of publications. He has also served as a course planer for several national environmental law programs.

Mr. Miano received his B.S. in Environmental Studies from George Washington University in 1982 and his J.D. from Franklin Pierce Law Center in 1985. He was a clerk to the Honorable Martin F. Loughlin, U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire.

Mr. Miano is listed in Chambers USA America's Leading Lawyers For Business, Who's Who of Business Lawyers for Environmental Law , Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America. Mr. Miano is a former Council member of the ABA's Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources and was the Co-chair of the ABA Section's Water Quality and Wetlands Committee from 2001-2003. He is also on the Editorial Board of the ABA Section publication, Trends, for which he served as Editor-In-Chief from 1997-2001. He is the co-author of the wetlands chapter in the Section's Clean Water Act Handbook and was the peer reviewer for the Section's Basic Practice Series book on RCRA. From 1998-2005, Mr. Miano served as a board member and Vice President of the Board of Trustees for the Support Center for Child Advocates, the largest agency of its kind in the country providing legal and social services to abused and neglected children and was named Distinguished Child Advocate in 1997. He is also a graduate of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Arts & Business Council - Business on Board Program.

Steven G. McKinneyImmediate Past Chair:
Steven G. McKinney
Balch & Bingham LLP
Birmingham, AL

Steve McKinney has been active in the Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources for almost 25 years, beginning with service on the Board of Editors of Natural Resources and Environment magazine, a term as the section’s Publications Officer and a term on the section’s Council. He is Vice Chair of the section for 2008-09.

Steve is also Chairman of the Environmental and Natural Resources Section of Balch & Bingham LLP, having practiced environmental law for more than 25 years. His practice includes counseling private companies and coalitions regarding all types of environmental permitting and compliance matters and representing new and existing sources, such as electric utility power plants, cement and lime kilns, pulp and paper plants and textile manufacturing plants, in local, state and federal permitting and compliance proceedings.

He is a native of Zion, Illinois and a magna cum laude graduate of both the University of Mississippi and the University of Illinois College of Law. Steve and his wife Diane have four daughters and live in Birmingham.

Lee A. DeHihns IIISection Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates
Lee A. DeHihns III
Alston & Bird LLP
Atlanta, GA

Lee DeHihns is a member of Alston & Bird’s Environmental and Land Use Group. He concentrates on regulatory matters and defensive litigation matters for industrial and municipal clients. His areas of concentration include air quality, hazardous waste, water quality and wetlands matters, corporate audits, compliance program development, debarment, and white-collar criminal defense. Lee joined Alston & Bird in 1990 after serving four years as Deputy Regional Administrator of USEPA Region 4. Lee received a Senior Executive Service Meritorious Rank Award from President Bush in 1989. His career began with USEPA in 1974 in Washington, D.C. where he rose to the position of Associate General Counsel. He was previously a member of the Council, 2001-2004, and Chair of the Water Quality and Wetlands Committee, 1999-2001 and a Vice Chair of that Committee, 1997-1999. Lee received his B.S. from the University of Scranton in 1967 and his J.D. from Catholic University of America in 1974. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and in Chambers USA America's Leading Lawyers for Business under environmental law.

Sheila S. HollisSection Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates
Sheila S. Hollis
Duane Morris LLP
Washington, DC

Sheila Slocum Hollis is chair of the Washington, D.C. office and serves on the firm's Executive Committee and Partners' Board. Ms. Hollis practices in the areas of energy transactional and regulatory law, and international and administrative law before government agencies, Congress and other entities. She specializes in domestic and international energy, water and environmental matters, representing governmental bodies and the power and natural gas industries. She was recently named one of the 50 Key Women in Energy worldwide and was a finalist for Lifetime Achievement in Energy in Platt's Global Energy Awards. Ms. Hollis is the first attorney in private practice to be nominated for the award. With a long career in issues relating to infrastructure, energy reliability, enforcement and compliance, and international energy policy, Ms. Hollis recently successfully represented the District of Columbia in a key electric reliability case.