Toren Elsen Bio

Toren headshot

Toren Elsen is taking the Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic course this year after working for five years as a paralegal at Beveridge & Diamond environmental law firm in Washington, DC, and spending last summer with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Enforcement Division. Toren hopes to gain practical experience with local—rather than federal—government agencies through his work with the Clinic.

“The Clinic is one of the standout environmental programs that William & Mary has to offer,” says Toren.

Toren will be working with the Virginia Environmental Endowment, a foundation that provides grants for environmental work in the state, to analyze Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs).

SEPs “offer a really good potential way to have enforcement actions help the environment instead of only being a punishment,” says Toren. SEPs are utilized by the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Environmental Quality when seeking compliance with environmental regulations. SEPs allow those not in compliance, as part of the resolution of the enforcement action against them, to dedicate funds to complete a project that will improve the environment.

The Endowment would like to place itself in a competitive position to receive these funds and improve the SEPs process. Toren will create a database of all the SEPs in Virginia over the past 10 years and write a memorandum for the Virginia Environmental Endowment analyzing the implementation of the projects and their future role in increasing the efficiency of the system.

Toren is from Boulder, CO, and completed his undergraduate studies at Vassar College in NY with a double major in environmental studies and geography. He is in his second year at the William & Mary Law School. Toren is also serving this year as Research Assistant to VCPC Director Roy Hoagland. Last year he provided administrative assistance to the Clinic under its former Director.

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