For nearly 20 years, Joel Reynolds has been “the Earth’s best defense” to protect the environment and speak out for wildlife and habitats that have no human voice. A senior attorney for the National Resources Defense Council based in Los Angeles, CA., Reynolds has taken up a wide variety of causes for the environment in the courtroom-and won-despite seemingly insurmountable odds.
In an epic legal battle, Reynolds has been a lead attorney in a lawsuit against the U.S. Navy that has stopped global deployment of a new, high-intensity submarine detection system called Low Frequency Active Sonar that has been linked to the deaths of whales and other marine mammals. He also sued the Navy to block a fiveyear, underwater explosives programs near the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in California.
Reynolds co-directed the NRDC’s successful five-year campaign against Mitsubishi Corporation’s plan to industrialize the World Heritage Site at Laguna San Ignacio, the last undisturbed gray whale breeding lagoon on Earth.
Taking the fight for clean water to the courts, Reynolds sued sanitation districts to compel a $400 million upgrade of Los Angeles County’s sewage treatment plant. He has also worked with under-represented communities to oppose unwanted industrial, transportation or public works projects such as incinerators, prisons, highways, toxic waste facilities, and power plants.
A graduate of Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and winner of the Convers Prize, Reynolds also worked for a decade at the Center for Law in the Public Interest and the Western Center on Law and Poverty.
Reynolds was a member of the United States delegation to the Third International Conference on Environmental Enforcement and a member of the State of California Blue Ribbon Commission on Unified Environmental Statute. In 1998, he was appointed by the Secretary of the Navy to the Oceanographic Research Advisory Board.
He has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Southern California Law Center and was the endangered species editor for publications of the California State Bar.
Reynolds is a passionate and skilled speaker on issues of coastal protection, land use, marine mammal protection, environmental justice, and transportation. He regularly speaks to conventions and groups across the country and has been published by The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, and The San Francisco Chronicle.