(May 22, 2017, Manchester, NH) – Sheehan Phinney Bass & Green Shareholder Thomas S. Burack received the EPA New England’s 2017 Ira Leighton “In Service to States” Annual Award. The award was presented at the 2017 Environmental Merit Awards ceremony on May 3, 2017 at Faneuil Hall, Boston, MA.
The award is named for Ira W. Leighton, Jr., who served for 41 years at U.S. EPA, including many years as the Deputy Regional Administrator, and recognizes an individual or organization that has made significant strides in facilitating state and federal partnerships through innovative sustainable solutions addressing critical environmental challenges in New England. Award recipients demonstrate outstanding accomplishments and contributions in improving the air, waste, or water environment in New England at the local, state, or regional level. The award write-up states that Tom Burack “has had an outsized impact on the state, the region and nationally. Considered a man of unequalled integrity and superb listening skills, he has a passion for not just improving, but revolutionizing how government works to achieve environmental protection.”
In January 2017, Burack returned to Sheehan Phinney after serving for over ten years as the Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. He is a nationally recognized strategic leader in the fields of environmental, public health and energy regulation, as well as organizational management and governance. Burack’s thirty years of experience working in all three branches of government as well as the private sector enable him to provide clients with an in-depth understanding of how the federal, state and local governments operate, and how the public and private sectors can constructively collaborate to solve problems and resolve disputes.
Burack spearheaded the creation of E-Enterprise for the Environment, a shared governance approach among the US Environmental Protection Agency, states and tribal governments to modernize and streamline the business of environmental protection and regulation in the United States. He served as the first state co-chair of the E-Enterprise Leadership Council, which provides strategic direction for the overall initiative and oversight of dozens of E-Enterprise projects. He now serves as an executive advisor and consultant to the initiative.
Burack has also been actively engaged in helping businesses and communities to become more sustainable, including by increasing their energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources. He led the effort to develop the New Hampshire Climate Action Plan, played key leadership roles in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and co-facilitated efforts to develop voluntary agreements among more eastern and mid-western states to address the challenge of ozone transport. He also served as Chairman of the NH Site Evaluation Committee, which oversees the siting and permitting of energy facilities in New Hampshire.
Burack has worked tirelessly to support efforts to adequately fund water infrastructure needs, and helped create New Hampshire Lives on Water – a public-private partnership that is building public awareness and understanding of the need for good quality drinking water and wastewater systems and wise stewardship of the state’s water resources. He also helped to develop the Northeast Ocean Plan, the first regional marine spatial plan in the nation. Within New Hampshire, he initiated and for eight years led a voluntary, informal group of some two dozen state agency commissioners in efforts to improve the operations of state government; consequently, Burack has substantial knowledge and understanding of many aspects of the Granite State’s government.
Burack holds a Lean Green Belt certification and is skilled at helping organizations engage their employees in continuously improving their operations in order to increase profits, reduce legal liabilities, manage environmental risks, and strengthen their corporate cultures.
About the Firm
Sheehan Phinney is a full service business law firm representing local, national and international clients with innovative approaches and practical solutions. Founded in 1937, Sheehan Phinney has grown to over 60 attorneys with four offices throughout New Hampshire and Massachusetts and is known for professional excellence, practical counsel and commitment to both its clients and the communities it serves. Sheehan Phinney is the exclusive member in New Hampshire of Lex Mundi, the world’s leading association of premier independent law firms.