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Dr. Nicky Sheats, Esq., is currently the director of the Center for the Urban Environment of the John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy at Thomas Edison State University and has defined the primary mission of the Center as providing support for the environmental justice (EJ) community on both a state and national level. The University is located in Trenton, New Jersey. Among the issues he is working on are particulate matter air pollution, climate change, cumulative impacts, developing EJ legal strategies and increasing the capacity of the EJ community to address these and other issues. Sheats is a founding member of the New Jersey EJ Alliance, the EJ Leadership Forum on Climate Change, the EJ and Science Initiative, the Building Equity and Alignment Initiative, and an informal EJ attorneys group.
Sheats has been appointed to several federal and state advisory councils including the EPA’s National EJ Advisory Council, the EPA’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee and the New Jersey Clean Air Council. In 2014, he also served as a co-author of the public health chapter of the National Climate Assessment. Early in his career, he practiced law as a public interest attorney. During that time, Sheats served as a law clerk for the Chief Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals (the local Court), as a landlord-tenant and housing attorney at Camden Regional Legal Services, as a public defender in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and as a legal instructor at a community legal education and college preparatory program in Harlem. He holds an undergraduate degree in economics from Princeton University and a Master in Public Policy, law degree and Ph.D. in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Harvard University.