Last week Governor Cooper made 32 executive nominations and appointments to 14 boards, councils, and commissions including the Environmental Management Commission (EMC). Shannon Arata was appointed to the EMC as a member with special training in freshwater, estuarine, marine biological or ecological sciences. She replaces Richard Whisnant who stepped down from the EMC earlier this year.
Shannon graduated from University of California, Davis in 2006 with a B.S. in Environmental Policy Analysis & Planning and Duke Law School in 2013. She is now a staff attorney with the Duke University Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.
Shannon has worked as legal intern for the NC Conservation Network and the Southern Environmental Law Center. Her cases include representing the Yadkin Riverkeeper to determine who owns part of the Yadkin River bed and advocating for the remediation of a former aluminum smelter site. She has worked on behalf of Clean Water for North Carolina to challenge the constitutionality of the N.C. Oil and Gas Commission’s power to decide whether local government fracking ordinances are preempted by state law.
More recently, Shannon was part of the legal team representing a youth who petitioned the EMC to create rules limiting carbon emissions. The petition was rejected by the EMC in 2014. A Wake County Superior Court Judge ruled against an appeal of that decision in 2015. In 2017 the Duke University Environmental Law & Policy Clinic submitted another petition on behalf of three youth petitioners requesting the EMC to initiate rule-making that would eliminate statewide carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. That request was also denied.
Updated June 29 with additional information.