Judges Serving on EPA's Environmental Appeals Board
Honorable Aaron P. Avila
Judge Avila has substantial litigation and management experience in matters arising under federal pollution control and natural resource statutes. Prior to joining the Board, Judge Avila served first as a staff attorney and then as an Assistant Section Chief in the Appellate Section, Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Department of Justice. During his tenure in the Appellate Section, Judge Avila litigated and supervised civil and criminal appellate matters involving major federal environmental and pollution control statutes before the courts of appeals and the Supreme Court on behalf of the United States and its agencies (primarily EPA, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense). Judge Avila presented oral argument in more than 30 appeals. Prior to joining the Justice Department, Judge Avila was an associate at Morrison & Foerster LLP in San Francisco, California and before that he served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Robert D. Sack of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Judge Avila’s work has garnered him numerous awards and recognitions, including the Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Excellence and EPA's Silver Medal for Superior Service Award.
Judge Avila earned his Juris Doctor degree, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, from New York University School of Law, and his Bachelor of Arts and Science degree (Political Science and Civil Engineering) from Stanford University.
Honorable Wendy L. Blake
Judge Blake has extensive litigation experience both at EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice in administrative law matters and matters arising under the federal pollution control statutes. She also has substantial management experience, including serving as the Associate General Counsel for the General Law Office and the Assistant General Counsel for the Air and Radiation Law Office in EPA’s Office of General Counsel. In these capacities, she managed large teams of attorneys and professional staff and led the Agency’s participation in matters before the Supreme Court, federal appellate courts, and district courts. She also has substantial rulemaking and alternative dispute resolution experience. Most recently, as the Associate General Counsel for the General Law Office, she supervised the Agency’s Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center which provides alternative dispute resolution and conflict resolution services to the Agency. Prior to joining the Department of Justice, she served as a judicial law clerk for former Judge Christine Miller of the United States Court of Federal Claims.
Judge Blake’s work has garnered her numerous awards and recognitions, including Gold and Bronze medals and the Agency’s First-Line Supervisor Award.
Judge Blake earned her Juris Doctor degree, with distinction, from George Mason University School of Law, where she focused extensively on moot court and won several awards. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia in Economics.
Honorable Mary Kay Lynch
Judge Lynch has extensive litigation and management experience in both the private and public sector. She has served in a number of senior legal and management positions within the EPA, including as the Associate General Counsel for Solid Waste and Emergency Response leading the Agency’s participation in Supreme Court, federal Appellate Court and federal rule making practice in these subject areas. Prior to that she served as Regional Counsel for EPA Region 4 in Atlanta, Georgia. There she led a large interdisciplinary staff including attorneys and engineers to provide legal counsel for civil and criminal enforcement cases, defensive litigation, counseling issues, and general law matters. Earlier in her EPA career she served in EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, first in the Federal Facilities Office as Director of the Site Remediation and Enforcement Staff and later as Director of OECA's Policy Office. Judge Lynch has served as the Vice Chair of the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Trustee Council where she has advised on complex and unprecedented issues. Prior to joining EPA, she was engaged in private law practice.
Judge Lynch's work has been recognized with numerous awards including the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award, the EPA Excellence in Management Award and EPA Gold and Silver Medals. She earned a Juris Doctor degree, from the University of Georgia School of Law, where she served as the Executive Editor of the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law. She earned a Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, from Boston College and was part of the Scholars of the College program.
Judge Stein has over 40 years of legal experience in both the private and public sectors. Prior to her appointment to the Board, Judge Stein held several leadership positions at EPA, including Director of EPA’s Air Enforcement Division within EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA). She also headed OECA’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Enforcement Division and served as the Acting Regional Counsel for EPA's Region III (Mid-Atlantic Region). In these capacities, she supervised teams of lawyers as well as technical and administrative personnel.
Before joining EPA in 1990, Judge Stein held positions with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, a non profit governmental organization, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, and engaged in private law practice. Judge Stein plays a leading role in the Board’s work on international judicial capacity building. She also oversaw the development of the Board’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Program. In addition, during 1995-1996, while on leave from EPA, she worked on environmental issues in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Judge Stein earned her Juris Doctor degree, magna cum laude, in 1979 from the Georgetown University Law Center, where she served as an editor of the Georgetown Law Journal. She received her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in 1974 from Oberlin College, where she majored in government.