MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — About 40 years in the past, Martin Harrell met an environmental
legislation professor who mentored and impressed him.
Now, the profitable lawyer for the U.S. Environmental Safety Company is
honoring that professor with a brand new endowed scholarship on the
West Virginia College
School of Regulation.
Harrell graduated from WVU Regulation in 1982 and has been a lawyer on the EPA
regional workplace in Philadelphia since 1983. He now manages all authorized
points of the company’s legal enforcement program in 5 Mid-Atlantic states.
As one of many authorities’s high environmental enforcement legal professionals, Harrell helps
shield the land, communities and folks from environmental and public well being threats.
If not for legislation professor Patrick McGinley, Harrell’s storied profession may
not have occurred. That’s why he has established the W. Martin Harrell
Scholarship in Honor of Professor Patrick McGinley.
“Pat set me on this path,” Harrell mentioned. “Pat mentored and impressed me and developed
my curiosity in environmental legislation. He gave me a job one summer season when funding on the
West Virginia Legal professional Normal’s workplace disappeared on the final minute, and he
gave me profession recommendation alongside the best way.”
Beginning in fall 2022, the Harrell-McGinley scholarship might be awarded to a rising
3L who’s fascinated about public curiosity environmental or power legislation and is an energetic
participant in extracurricular actions. The recipient have to be making passable
tutorial progress and display monetary want as decided by the
WVU Workplace of Monetary Support. The scholarship will be awarded to multiple
“Once I first met Marty Harrell, I used to be a brand new instructor, recent from my work imposing
environmental legal guidelines with the Pennsylvania Environmental Strike Power,” McGinley
mentioned. “Marty had a terrific humorousness, a eager analytical thoughts, private integrity,
and a ardour for justice. I’m actually blessed to have made a small contribution
to Marty’s distinctive profession of public service and to name him my pal.”
A U.S. Military veteran, Harrell earned his bachelor’s diploma in journalism from Marshall
College in 1978 after his discharge. A local of northeastern North Carolina,
he labored on the Huntington Herald-Dispatch earlier than legislation college. His time on the
newspaper protecting native and state legislation enforcement in three states led to him being
requested in 1988 to work with EPA’s fledging legal enforcement program.
“Basically, I might converse the lingo that our new particular brokers spoke,” Harrell
mentioned lightheartedly. “Folks on the EPA weren’t used to coping with cops who
carried firearms. I used to be comfy given my time within the Military and as a police reporter.”
Harrell says he might have gone into media, power or environmental legislation after graduating
“However I ended up taking all the environmental legislation courses there have been at WVU and
working for Pat,” he mentioned. “It was nonetheless the early days of environmental legislation, and
some thought not a lot new would occur within the subject within the years to come back. They
have been flawed.”
Although he left West Virginia for Philadelphia, Harrell has watched McGinley
excel as a legislation professor and as an advocate for environmental safety and justice.
“Pat has been a guiding mild in environmental authorized circles for a few years,” Harrell
mentioned. “Particularly his illustration of nonprofits and his work for citizen teams,
each on the native and nationwide ranges. And he has taught environmental legislation to generations
After graduating from WVU Regulation, Harrell clerked for Justice Darrell McGraw on the
Supreme Courtroom of Appeals of West Virginia for a 12 months. Following that job, he went
to Philadelphia to start his lengthy profession on the EPA.
“I enthusiastically really useful Marty for his first job with EPA, having little doubt
he can be an exemplary lawyer. He didn’t disappoint,” McGinley mentioned.
In his first position on the company, Harrell dealt with civil air, toxics and unsafe
waste enforcement and Superfund cleanups as an assistant regional counsel. For
the previous three a long time, he has been an affiliate regional counsel for legal
enforcement, supervising a group of attorneys and dealing intently with the EPA’s
Moreover, since 1986, Harrell has served as a Particular Assistant U.S. Legal professional
for the U.S. Division of Justice in six completely different U.S. Legal professional Places of work in Pennsylvania,
West Virginia, Delaware and Virginia. He just lately concluded a month-long Clear
Water Act and fraud trial in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Harrell says his EPA work is a mixture of counseling, investigation and litigation.
“Being a trial lawyer, a lot much less a legal prosecutor, was not on the radar display
throughout legislation college,” he mentioned.
Over the course of his profession, Harrell has earned a number of skilled accolades.
These embody the Service to America Medal (aka the “Oscar” of presidency
service) from the Partnership for Public Service — he was the primary EPA nominee
He earned that award for holding a surplus chemical dealer in Pottstown, Pennsylvania,
criminally answerable for exporting 300 tons of waste chemical substances abroad and refusing
to take accountability for disposing of them once they started leaking in Holland.
The Partnership for Public Service produced a
video about Martin Harrell and a chemical waste case in Pottstown, Pa.
Harrell has additionally received two EPA Gold Medals, together with one for serving to prosecute the
Freedom chemical spill in West Virginia, two EPA Silver Medals for Clear Air Act
and Clear Water Act circumstances, 4 EPA Bronze Medals, and numerous commendations
from the U.S. Division of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
“Marty’s three a long time of groundbreaking and award-winning legal environmental
legislation enforcement made all of us on the School of Regulation proud,” McGinley mentioned. “Nothing
brings a instructor higher satisfaction than the extraordinary success of our college students.”
Some circumstances stand out for Harrell.
He was concerned with the EPA’s first legal prosecutions of Massey Coal for Clear
Water Act environmental violations at two of the corporate’s subsidiaries in southern
“Generally civil enforcement is sufficient,” mentioned Harrell, reflecting on his 40-year
profession. “Different occasions, legal prosecution is the one choice.”
He spent three years going to Roanoke, Virginia, for per week every month within the Nineties
to prosecute a number of completely different circumstances within the southwest a part of the state. One case
was a hazardous waste matter towards the Metropolis of Roanoke itself that led to widespread
coaching of municipal officers in Virginia on environmental compliance that helped
lead municipalities to develop methods to cut back waste technology.
Harrell has additionally been concerned with each wetlands prosecution introduced within the
Mid-Atlantic area for the reason that early Nineties, together with one in West Virginia involving
an expert engineer who was additionally a former state senator and others in Pennsylvania,
Maryland and Delaware.
“Such circumstances are at all times controversial,” mentioned Harrell, “irrespective of how egregious the
His first environmental legal case — within the late Nineteen Eighties — is memorable as a result of
it concerned the loss of life of an aged couple. Workers of an Orkin Exterminating
Firm supplier utilized a fungicide for pest therapy and didn’t observe
post-application procedures. When the couple returned to their residence, they turned
ailing and handed away inside a few days.
Harrell has not restricted his experience to the EPA and he’s no stranger to the classroom.
For nearly a decade, he served as an adjunct professor at Villanova College Faculty
of Regulation, instructing a course on environmental enforcement that he designed, and he
has been an teacher on the Federal Regulation Enforcement Coaching Heart in Glynco,
Georgia, since 1989.
Harrell has even taken his instructing abroad. Shortly after the autumn of communism,
he gave environmental crimes coaching in numerous Jap European nations, such
as Moldova, Romania, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria. He has additionally educated police and
prosecutors from the Caribbean, Central America, South Africa, Ukraine and Russia.
He says these experiences are with him usually, particularly given the circumstances
now in Jap Europe.
A number of occasions, Harrell has returned to Regulation Faculty Hill to talk to McGinley’s college students.
“WVU gave me the training and instruments to have a terrific profession,” mentioned Harrell, who plans
to retire from the EPA this 12 months. “I wish to encourage my classmates and all alumni
to present again to the School of Regulation in a roundabout way, even take into account establishing a scholarship
themselves or give generously to class scholarships to assist college students within the
Harrell notes that whereas he has offered the preliminary funding to get his scholarship
up and working, it’s open for donations from others to honor McGinley, particularly
his classmates who’re marking the fortieth anniversary of their legislation college commencement
this 12 months.
“The extra we donate, the extra scholarships WVU can present,” Harrell mentioned, “and that
will profit the residents of West Virginia and past.”
Harrell’s present was made by means of the WVU Basis, the nonprofit group that receives and administers non-public
donations on behalf of the College.
For data on giving to the WVU School of Regulation, contact Jennie James, assistant
dean for growth, at (304) 293-7367 or