Staff & Board

Tim Whitehouse
Executive Director
twhitehouse@peer.org

Tim is PEER’s Executive Director, leveraging more than 30 years of experience working on environmental issues with governments, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and community groups. Prior to joining PEER, he was a senior attorney at the United States Environmental Protection Agency and was head of the Law and Policy Program at the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation in Montreal, Canada. He has worked as a consultant for companies on environmental compliance issues, and with nonprofit organizations focusing on clean energy issues. Most recently, he was executive director of Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, a health advocacy group working to address climate change, toxics pollution, and nuclear disarmament issues. Tim’s interest is in the intersection of science, policy, and civil service. He believes in protecting employees who raise concerns about their workplace and in exposing undue influence on government for private gain. He holds a JD and BA from Emory University and an MA from New York University.

Commentary and Publications by Tim »

Kyla Bennett
Director of Science Policy;
Northeast & Mid-Atlantic PEER Director
kbennett@peer.org

Kyla first became involved with PEER in the mid-1990s when she became a whistleblower herself. She previously worked at the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 1 for 10 years as a wetland permit reviewer and as the Region’s Wetlands Enforcement Coordinator. Kyla’s familiarity with science, the law, and the inner workings of state and federal governmental agencies enable her to assist public environmental employees throughout New England. She has a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Connecticut and a law degree from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.

Commentary and Publications by Kyla »

Nicole Bracey
Human Resources & Office Manager
nbracey@peer.org

Nicole joined PEER in 2024 as the HR and Office Manager. She brings a diverse background in administration, human resources, and health coaching. Before joining PEER, she worked as an Administrator at Noom, a tech company focused on behavior change and mental wellness. She has also contributed to improving maternal health disparities for Black women as a health coach at Mamatoto Village, a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C. Additionally, she has experience in high-level administrative roles, having contracted with the Department of State as an Executive Secretary. Nicole is committed to fostering a positive and inclusive workplace culture and supporting the growth and success of the PEER team. In her spare time, she enjoys dancing, taking long walks, and experimenting with new plant-based recipes.

Paula Dinerstein
General Counsel
pdinerstein@peer.org

Paula has worked with PEER since 2006. She represents the organization in whistleblower, environmental, and Freedom of Information Act cases. Prior to joining PEER, she clerked for a federal district court judge in Washington, DC, and then practiced with small public interest-oriented law firms. Her work included representation of States and advocacy groups in energy and environmental matters, including pesticides and organic food standards. She received her law degree from the George Washington University National Law Center.

Commentary and Publications by Paula »

Elizabeth Duan
Communications & Administrative Consultant
eduan@peer.org

Prior to joining PEER, Elizabeth coordinated events for the nonprofit Women’s Learning Partnership and taught gender studies at Emerson Preparatory School. She has also taught writing at Sidwell Friends School Summer Camp, and organized with New Virginia Majority, Education Reform Now, and Democrats for Education Reform in the Washington, DC area. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied political science and gender, women’s and sexuality studies.

Laura Dumais
Staff Counsel
ldumais@peer.org

Laura has represented nonprofit organizations and individual clients as an attorney at Earthjustice and at PEER. Her practice has included lawsuits under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Freedom of Information Act, and the Whistleblower Protection Act. Before becoming a litigator and policy advocate, Laura clerked for the Vermont Superior Court’s Environmental Division, a court specializing in environmental and land use law. She deeply values the expertise and perspective that employees of government agencies bring to the work of protecting public health and the environment. Laura graduated first in her class from Vermont Law School in 2012. She holds an MS in Aquatics from the University of Michigan and a BA from the University of Notre Dame.

Helen Pent Jenkins
Director of Development &
Communications
hjenkins@peer.org

Helen brings more than 10 years of professional development experience focused on conservation and the environment and an academic background in environmental security and policy. She joined PEER after seven years of serving in a series of progressive positions with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Montana, where she focused on individual giving and campaign management. Prior to TNC, Helen served as Development Manager for the Seattle Audubon Society and led the Montana Veterans Foundation first as Director of Development and Marketing and then as the Executive Director. Helen brings well-rounded expertise across individual, corporate, and foundation giving as well as deep knowledge of environmental issues.

Peter Jenkins
Senior Counsel
pjenkins@peer.org

Peter has been an environmental, land use, and consumer attorney and advocate since 1983. He has held various roles in Washington, DC including Of Counsel at the Center for Food Safety; Vice President for U.S. Government Policy at Conservation International; Director of International Conservation at Defenders of Wildlife; and Staff Attorney at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Additionally, he worked as a contracted consultant on endangered species recovery efforts with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Turner Endangered Species Fund in New Mexico. Prior to that, he served as an Attorney and Policy Analyst for the U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, and was also in private law practice. His career has centered on bringing the best science to bear in environmental protection efforts; he has specialized in working with scientists so their findings can inform good policy, as well as in federal litigation. Most of his work has been in aid of wildlife conservation in the fields of pesticides, genetically modified organisms, invasive species, wildlife disease prevention, international trade, land use conflicts, and other areas. Peter received his law degree from the University of Puget Sound (now Seattle University) School of Law and also has a master’s degree in Environmental Studies from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, with a focus on conservation biology.

Commentary and Publications by Peter »

Monica Mercola

Mer Mietzelfeld
Institutional Giving Manager
mmietzelfed@peer.org

Mer joined the development team at PEER in 2023 as the Institutional Giving Manager. She brings a multi-disciplinary background in science, field research, and business development. Prior to this role, she worked as the Business Intelligence Manager in Corporate Relations at the American Gastroenterological Association. Before joining the nonprofit space, Mer held a series of ornithology field positions with the Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. Mer holds an MA degree in Environmental Studies from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and a BA degree in biology from Bard College. A lifelong conservationist, she is deeply committed to preserving biodiversity and protecting the environment and public health. In her spare time, Mer is an avid birdwatcher and leads bird walks for several nonprofits in the DC area.

Chandra Rosenthal
Rocky Mountain PEER Director
crosenthal@peer.org

Chandra, a Colorado native, serves as the Director of Rocky Mountain PEER. Formerly a staff attorney with Defenders of Wildlife specializing in endangered species and public lands issues, she has also worked for the U.S. Department of Justice and, under a legal fellowship, worked on a Superfund site with the Department of Energy. “I view my job as helping the region’s public service professionals do their jobs of protecting the diverse and abundant natural resources of the Rockies,” states Rosenthal. Chandra earned her law degree in 1993 at the Lewis and Clark Northwestern School of Law, where she focused her studies on environmental law.

Commentary and Publications by Chandra »

Jeff Ruch
Pacific PEER Director
jruch@peer.org

Jeff serves as Director of Pacific PEER, headquartered in California, and was PEER’s Executive Director from 1997 to 2019. Previously, he was the Policy Director and a staff attorney at the Government Accountability Project, representing whistleblowers from both the public and private sectors. Before coming to DC, Jeff worked in California state government for 17 years, mostly in the State Legislature as counsel to various committees where he drafted hundreds of laws on topics ranging from energy conservation to the rights of employed inventors. Jeff served stints as a deputy district attorney, and an appellate court clerk and is a graduate of the California Correctional Officers Academy.

Commentary and Publications by Jeff »

Michelle Shaffer
Digital Media Associate
mshaffer@peer.org

Michelle joined PEER in 2024 as the Digital Media Associate, bringing over three years of experience in environmental nonprofit communications to the team. She comes to PEER from Global Footprint Network, where she worked on amplifying the organization’s message as the Digital Engagement Associate. Prior to that, she contributed her development and operations skills to various arts, animal welfare, and environmental organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds a BA from Wagner College. In her free time, she’s an avid backcountry user who loves backpacking and hiking throughout the beautiful state of Utah. Her deep connection to nature fuels her dedication to protecting the environment.

Barry Sulkin
Technical Consultant
bsulkin@peer.org

Barry is a Volunteer State native and former Chief of Enforcement and Compliance for the Division of Water Pollution Control of the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC). Barry contacted PEER over a year before joining the organization, inquiring about PEER’s involvement in helping environmental agency employees stand up for resource protection in the face of political pressure. Barry worked for TDEC from 1976 to 1990, leaving shortly after testifying that the agency had issued an illegal permit, and surviving an unsuccessful attempt at civil service expulsion. Since then, he has created an extensive private practice as an investigator and scientist serving citizen groups and others on a wide range of water quality issues. His more than 40 years of experience in resource management, in both state and federal service as well as private practice, are being put to good use by PEER. “In my experience as an agency employee, at times factors other than science dictated what was supposed to be purely an environmental decision,” says Sulkin. “PEER’s ‘anonymous activism’ offers a way for good employees to stay within the system by giving them a completely safe channel to communicate with their real employer – the public.”

Colleen Teubner
Litigation & Policy Attorney
cteubner@peer.org

Prior to joining PEER, Colleen was an Assistant District Attorney for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in New York. She has also worked, clerked, and interned for multiple government agencies and non-profits, including the United States Department of Justice, the Office of the New York State Attorney General, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Defenders of Wildlife. Colleen also volunteered as a Park Interpreter with the National Park Service at Theodore Roosevelt Island in Washington, DC. Colleen received her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, where she was the Vice President of the Environmental Law Society and Senior Notes Editor for the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law. She received her bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in International Affairs from The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. Colleen enjoys backpacking and camping trips, playing board games, and reading mystery novels.

Commentary and Publications by Colleen »

Claire Turner
Development Manager
cturner@peer.org

Claire is a development operations professional with five years of experience. Claire comes to PEER from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in California where she served as a Development Coordinator. She worked diligently in the San Francisco office to improve processes and streamline development operations. Prior to TNC, Claire worked at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay as a Development Associate. Before that, she worked as a Program Associate for the Tenderloin Technology Lab of the St. Anthony’s Foundation. Claire enjoys working with databases and improving systems. She is passionate about promoting disability representation in art, education, and environmental nonprofit spaces. She received her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Smith College.

Laurie Williams
Climate Consultant
lwilliams@peer.org

Laurie recently retired after 35 years as an attorney at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Laurie and her husband Allan Zabel, also formerly with EPA, have written and spoken on climate policy. Her goals are to apply the skills she learned at EPA to address the climate crisis. She looks forward to collaborating with others to draft principles for national climate legislation and to help build public support for effective and fair climate legislation. Laurie and Allan’s prior climate work includes their 2008 Open Letter to Congress, their climate video (“The Huge Mistake”), a Washington Post op-ed (“Cap-and-Trade Mirage”), and work on a 2012 lawsuit challenging California’s offset protocols (Citizens Climate Lobby and Our Children’s Earth Foundation vs. CARB). Laurie has a B.A. from Yale, an M.S.W. from Smith College and a J.D. from UC Berkeley Law. She enjoys hiking, camping and spending time with family including her grandchildren and godchildren.

Commentary and Publications by Laurie »

Fellows, Clerks and Interns

Monica Mercola

Natalina Aquino
Legal Clerk
naquino@peer.org

Natalina is currently a law student at Georgetown University Law Center. Before starting law school, she graduated from the University of Windsor in Canada with a business and economics degree. Natalina became a research assistant for her business ethics professor, which led to her co-authoring and publishing a case study with teaching notes on the Flint water crisis. After graduating, she continued her environmental work through organizations like The Council of Canadians and Clean Water Action – Michigan. She also worked closely with a grassroots organization in Canada to help a community whose water had become polluted. While in law school, Natalina will be joining the Environmental Law & Justice Clinic in her 2L spring semester. When she isn’t studying, she loves collecting Legos, participating in escape rooms, and playing Dungeons & Dragons with her new law school friends.

Monica Mercola

Isabella Neihardt​
Legal Clerk
ineihardt@peer.org

Isabella is currently a law student at Brooklyn Law School and just beginning what she hopes will be a long and impactful career in environmental law. Before starting law school, Isabella spent a year in Paris, France, getting her Master’s in International Law and Diplomacy. She became interested in environmental issues at a young age, but she truly developed her desire to pursue a career fighting climate change through the legal system while defending a threatened community garden in lower Manhattan. Isabella was previously a summer legal intern for Elizabeth Street Garden and a volunteer legal representative for Access Justice Brooklyn. When she isn’t studying, Isabella loves taking her dog Phoebe on long walks around the city, brushing up on her French, and cooking for her friends.

Board of Directors

Richard G. Steiner, Chair
Rick advises NGOs, governments, and industry as an international conservation and sustainability consultant in Anchorage, Alaska. For 15 years Rick worked as a professor and statewide conservation specialist at the University of Alaska and had primary responsibility for the university’s Environmental Conservation Extension Mission. Previously, Rick was an Associate Professor and Marine Advisory Program Agent for Prince William Sound in Cordova, Alaska. Rick fulfilled leadership roles in coordinating the response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill by helping organize and direct the emergency response on behalf of the local fishing industry; initiating the effort to settle natural resource damage claims among the State, the U.S., and Exxon resulting in landmark $1 billion settlement and environmental restoration program; co-founding the Prince William Sound Science Center in Cordova; and helping initiate the PWS Oil Spill Recovery Institute. Rick’s outspoken and effective criticism of the oil industry caused him to lose his federal grant funding at the University of Alaska, after which he joined the PEER board. Rick has brought his expertise in coordinating oil spill response efforts to the recent BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Joined the Board May 2010.

Louis Clark, Vice Chair
Louis is the founder and Executive Director, since 1978, of the Government Accountability Project. G.A.P. is a public interest law firm that specializes in whistleblower protection and environmental advocacy. A lawyer and Methodist minister, Mr. Clark was active in the civil rights movement and worked for prison reform before founding G.A.P. Founding Board member December 1993.

Alexandra Bueno, Treasurer
Alexandra spent her formative years both in La Paz, Bolivia and in Saint Petersburg, Florida which forged her love for the great outdoors. She received her law degree from Pace Law School with an advanced certificate in Environmental Law, she is now Barred in the State of New York and Washington D.C. as an Attorney. Prior to joining the PEER Board, Alexandra was an Assistant District Attorney for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, Domestic Violence Unit in New York. She has also worked, clerked and interned for multiple government agencies and nonprofits, including the Environmental Protection Agency in the New Jersey SuperFund Branch, The Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, The Pace Land Use Center for Sustainable Development and the Blue Frontier Campaign. Alexandra recently relocated back to Florida. In her spare time Alexandra enjoys hiking, traveling and seeing live music. Joined the Board in 2022.

Darrell Carrington, Development Chair
Darrell has over 30 years of experience working with every level of government, non-profits and the private sector. Darrell currently lobbies in Annapolis, Maryland. In the past 14 years, he has represented a wide array of clients, including environmental and health groups, the medical cannabis industry, professional sports teams, civil rights groups, energy companies and utilities. Darrell formerly worked in the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Office and was also the former Director for the Office of Energy and Food Programs for Prince George’s County. Darrell came to the State of Maryland from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, where he spent over 10 years developing and funding programs for at-risk youth and low-income populations. Joined the Board in 2020.

Christine D. Berg, M.D.
Chris is a research oncologist who spent much of her career prior to her federal retirement at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Currently, she works as a consultant to companies involved in developing new effective cancer screening tests. In her capacity as Chief of the Early Detection Research Group, Division of Cancer Prevention, NCI, NIH, she oversaw the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening (PLCO) Trial and the PLCO biospecimen repository. The NLST documented a 20% decrease in lung cancer specific mortality from three rounds of low-dose computerized tomographic screening. This led to insurance coverage of screening and Medicare coverage as well. Dr. Berg earned a Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University and a Doctor of Medicine from Northwestern University’s Medical School. She is certified in Therapeutic Radiology by the American Board of Radiology, and Medical Oncology and Internal Medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Berg is widely published and has received numerous awards for her work. In addition to her passion for oncology research, Dr. Berg is a staunch supporter of climate crisis amelioration and adaptation. Dr. Berg is adamant about the scientific process and scientific evidence and strives to find the truth through research which should be an approach applied to the climate crisis. Joined the Board in 2020.

Maria Brown, M.D.
Maria received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master’s Degree in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Medical Degree from George Washington University. She completed residency training in Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins. After working for a decade in clinical practice in Baltimore, she now focuses on public health teaching and advocacy on children’s environmental health. Maria came to the children’s environmental health space as a co-creator of the “Docs in the Park Program”, an alliance of Baltimore City professionals across sectors of recreation, health, education, and environmental advocacy whose mission was to promote outdoor physical activity and connection to nature.  She has recently served as President of the Maryland Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Since 2021, she has enjoyed working as a Consultant in UNICEF’s Healthy Environment for Healthy Children Programme. Joined the Board May 2024.

Frank Buono
Frank retired following a more than 33 year career with the National Park Service, culminating in service as Assistant Superintendent at Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park. In 1994 the National Parks and Conservation Association conferred upon him the prestigious Mather Award for public service. Joined the Board May 2000.

Ewell Hopkins
Since 1982, Ewell has been working in the enterprise application and professional services sales, marketing, and business development fields for software and financial services companies. He currently serves on the Planning Board of the Town of Oak Bluffs, served previously for many years as the Board President of Martha’s Vineyard’s Habitat for Humanity and on the Board of his local YMCA. Ewell understands that no societal issue is more important than our relationship with the natural world. The interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part is a life principle by which he was raised. He supports the Environmental Justice movement and believes protecting public employees who protect our environment, natural resources and public health will ensure all voices are heard. Ewell is from Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts.

Ben Lomeli
Ben retired in 2017 from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management after a 44-year career as a Hydrologist and Natural Resources Scientist with experience in all levels of government and private sector consulting. His specialties include sustainability, engineering, water rights, riparian ecosystems, flood control, riverine morphology, grazing systems, erosion control, site and water development, groundwater, interdisciplinary planning, and International Issues. Ben belongs to several professional associations in his field and is active in a wide range of volunteer activities. He is also versed in English/Spanish translation of natural resources, engineering, and technical literature. As a federal employee, he compiled a decades-long track record of upholding scientific integrity, in some cases at significant career risk. As a PEER Board Member he hope to continue assisting scientists facing retaliation for defending scientific integrity and telling the truth. Joined the Board September 2017.

Tim Whitehouse, Executive Director of PEER

Adrian Treves
Adrian Treves is an interdisciplinary ecologist who studies conservation of carnivores, scientific integrity, and public trust principles. He blew the whistle on a state agency and its retired and former employees who omitted essential steps in their methods for counting and managing wolves. After facing retaliation, he persevered and continues the battle for honest, transparent, and reproducible research on wildlife. He loves soccer, RP Games, and birding by ear. Adrian holds a PhD from Harvard University and BAs from Rice University. He currently serves as professor of environmental studies and founder of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab. Joined the Board in 2022.

Tim Whitehouse, Executive Director of PEER

Tim Whitehouse
Tim Whitehouse has more than 25 years of experience working on a wide range of environmental issues with governments, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and community groups. His interest is in the intersection of science, policy, and the civil service. He believes in protecting employees who raise concerns about their workplace and in exposing undue influence on government for private gain. Tim was a senior attorney at the United States Environmental Protection Agency and was head of the Law and Policy Program at the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation in Montreal, Canada. He has worked as a consultant for companies on environmental compliance issues, and with nonprofit organizations focusing on clean energy issues. Most recently, he was executive director of Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, a health advocacy group working to address climate change, toxics pollution, and nuclear disarmament issues. He holds a JD and BA from Emory University and an MA from New York University.

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