Environmental Hearing Board
JUDGES OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL HEARING BOARD
Steven C. Beckman, Richard P. Mather, Sr., Thomas W. Renwand,
Michelle A. Coleman, and Bernard A. Labuskes, Jr.
Thomas W. Renwand has served on the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board since 1995. He is based in Pittsburgh. Governor Edward Rendell appointed him as Chairman and Chief Judge. Prior to his tenure on the Board, Judge Renwand was a partner and trial attorney with the Pittsburgh law firm of Meyer, Unkovic and Scott. He began his legal career in Erie with Knox McLaughlin Gornall & Sennett, P.C. Judge Renwand is a 1980 graduate of the University of Akron School of Law where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review. He graduated with honors in 1977 from John Carroll University.
Bernard A. Labuskes, Jr. was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He received his B.A. from Pennsylvania State University in 1979 and his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1982. He was Senior Comments Editor of the University of Pittsburgh Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif. He was a law clerk to Honorable Charles Clark, Chief Judge, U. S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, from 1982 to 1983. He served as Assistant Counsel at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources from 1985 through 1987, where he focused on litigation and enforcement matters. Prior to his appointment to the Board, he was a partner and chair of the Environmental Practice Group of McNees, Wallace & Nurick in Harrisburg. He was appointed to the Environmental Hearing Board by Governor Ridge in November 1998 and became a member of the Board in January 1999. He lives with his wife and two children in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.
Michelle A. Coleman a native of Philadelphia, received a B.A. in political science from Bryn Mawr College in 1977. She then attended New York University School of Law as a Root-Tilden Scholar and received her J.D. in 1980. As a member of the Root-Tilden Program, she traveled in the U.S. and was permitted to practice on the Navajo Reservation. She served with the N.Y. Legal Aid Society as a public defender and with Community Legal Services representing the poor. After approximately 2 years in private practice, she accepted a position with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources and presented cases before the Environmental Hearing Board as well as Commonwealth and Federal Courts. Appointed to the Environmental Hearing Board in 1995 by Governor Ridge and reappointed in 2002 by Governor Schweiker, she has served as a Judge hearing cases and writing opinions in all aspects of environmental law throughout the state.
In 1995, prior to the appointment to the Board, Michelle and husband Carlton Clark became the proud adoptive parents of a baby boy. Within 18 months the family grew by the addition of two more boys a little girl. Later another little girl was added to the family.
The joys of parenting were tempered by the fact that all of the children had special needs. Consequently, Michelle has learned both sides of Special Education. She has successfully obtained positive education programs for all of the children and has assisted other families to do the same.
At present she is active in legal support groups for parents of children with special needs. Michelle teaches classes in which special need children are involved participants and has written plans to assist these children to continue to thrive in main-stream classes.
Richard P. Mather, Sr. was nominated to serve as a Judge on the Environmental Hearing Board by Governor Edward G. Rendell in August 2009. The Senate unanimously confirmed the nomination and Judge Mather took the oath of office in October 2009. Prior to becoming a Judge, Judge Mather was the Deputy Chief Counsel for the Department of Environmental Protection. He worked for the Department of Environmental Protection and its predecessor, the Department of Environmental Resources for twenty-five years. For eighteen years during this period, he was the head of the Bureau of Regulatory Counsel.
Judge Mather is a 1977 graduate of Lock Haven University. He received his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1982. He was Business Editor of the University of Pittsburgh Law Review. From 1982 until 1984, he was an associate with the law firm of Thorp, Reed and Armstrong in its Pittsburgh offices.
Judge Mather was born in Ashland, Pennsylvania and he was raised in Williamsport and Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the Lock Haven High School in 1972. He is a life-long resident of Pennsylvania and he currently resides in Susquehanna Township, Pennsylvania with his wife, Mary Jo and three sons, Ricky, Jonathan and Jeffrey.
Steven C. Beckman was appointed to the Environmental Hearing Board by Governor Corbett in 2012. He received his undergraduate degree from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio in 1983. He next attended the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and earned a Masters Degree in Geology. Judge Beckman received his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1993 and went to work at MacDonald Illig Jones and Britton LLP in Erie, Pa. In 1996, he was appointed by Governor Ridge to serve as the Regional Director for the Northwest Region office of the Department of Environmental Protection. In 2001, Judge Beckman left the DEP and returned to MacDonald Illig law firm where he was a partner and a member of the law firm's Environmental Law practice group at the time of his appointment to the Board.
SENIOR ASSISTANT COUNSEL TO THE ENVIRONMENTAL HEARING BOARD
Maryanne Wesdock, Esquire holds a B.A. in Economics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated as valedictorian, and received her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. She is the Senior Counsel to the Environmental Hearing Board and works directly with the Chairman and Chief Judge of the Board, the Honorable Thomas W. Renwand. Ms. Wesdock also serves as the Board's liaison to the Environmental Hearing Board Procedural Rules Committee. Prior to joining the Board, she served as Assistant Corporate Counsel to Hanover Foods, Inc. Ms. Wesdock is a past Chair of both the PBA Environment and Energy Law Section and the Allegheny County Bar Association Environmental Law Section. In 2006, she was the recipient of the PBA Environment and Energy Law Section's Environmental Achievement Award.
ASSISTANT COUNSEL OF THE ENVIROMENTAL HEARING BOARD
Eric J. Delio, Esquire received his B.A. in English from Mercyhurst University and his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. While in law school, Eric worked as an intern at the school's Environmental Law Clinic, working on cases involving a diverse set of issues in Environmental Law. He also interned at a non-profit environmental organization in Southwest Pennsylvania. Eric competed on his school's team in the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition. He received an Allegheny County Bar Association Environment and Energy Law Section Scholarship Award for his focus on Environmental Law throughout Law School and he was also recognized as a Distinguished Public Interest Scholar by the University of Pittsburgh. Eric joined the Board in 2013 as Assistant Counsel to the Honorable Michelle Coleman and the Honorable Bernard Labuskes, Jr. Eric currently lives in Harrisburg, PA.
Alisha M. Hilfinger, Esquire holds a B.S. in Psychology from Penn State University and a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law where she was a Recipient of the Law and Leadership Scholarship. During law school, she worked as a summer associate at OGC Law, assisting in various civil litigation matters. Additionally, Alisha interned at Neighborhood Legal Services, working primarily with domestic abuse victims. After graduating, Alisha joined the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, clerking for the Honorable Deborah Kunselman. Pursuing her passion for environmental law, Alisha joined the Board in 2019 as the Assistant Counsel to the Honorable Steven C. Beckman.
Christopher P. Minott, Esquire holds a B.A. in Economics from University of Vermont and a J.D. from Temple University Beasley School of Law. Chris is an IAPP Certified Information Privacy Professional who spent four years working as an IT Specialist prior to attending law school. In law school, Chris was a Beasley Merit Scholar and the 2017 Recipient of the PBA Environment and Energy Law Section's Pro Bono Internship Award which funded his work at the PA Department of Environmental Protection's Bureau of Regulatory Counsel. The following summer, Chris worked in Washington D.C. as a law clerk for the U.S. Department of Justice in its Environment and Natural Resources Division. Chris joined the Board in 2019 and is Assistant Counsel to the Honorable Michelle A. Coleman and the Honorable Richard P. Mather.
Christine A. Walker, Esquire received her B.A. in Communications from Chatham College and her J.D. from Duquesne University School of Law, where she served on the Senior Staff of the Law Review and as Editorial Assistant of Juris. She is a recipient of Duquesne's Cali Excellence for the Future Award. Christine began her career as Judicial Secretary to The Honorable S. Louis Farino on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. She joined the Environmental Hearing Board in 2013 as Law Clerk to The Honorable Steven C. Beckman in Erie. She was appointed Secretary to the Environmental Hearing Board in October 2016, after having served as Acting Secretary since January 2016. Christine lives in Erie and works in the Board's Erie Office.