Cascadia Policy Solutions

Public Policy Consulting Firm in the Pacific Northwest

Dennis McLerran

(206) 292-2646

Dennis McLerran provides consulting services to a number of organizations in the areas of climate change, air quality and general environmental and land use issues and is actively working with ports up and down the US West Coast. Dennis served as Regional Administrator for EPA Region 10 between 2010 and early 2017 and as Executive Director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency between 1994 and 2010. Dennis served as the Director of the City of Seattle’s Department of Construction and Land Use and has been a cabinet member of Mayors in several cities in Washington State. He is a past President of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA) and also served for many years there as a board member. Dennis co-chaired the Mobile Sources and Fuels Committee of NACAA during a period of dramatic shifts in mobile source and fuel regulations nationally and internationally.

At EPA Dennis led the agency’s Green Ports and Vessels Initiative (GPVI). The GPVI is a collaboration to reduce air pollution and climate emissions from vessels and port operations along the US coasts and China. The initiative brings US technical experts, private sector innovators and government officials with expertise in maritime commerce and air pollution control together with Chinese officials, scientists and organizations to share and develop best practices. Highly significant improvements in public health and the environment have been assisted through this work. Dennis has been a frequent speaker at forums such as the Pacific Ports Clean Air Collaborative and has led several U.S. Delegations to China to discuss air quality and climate issues related to international goods movement.

While at the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, Dennis conceived of and led establishment of the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy. This effort is a collaboration between the Ports of Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver, British Columbia and the air and climate regulatory agencies. The initiative develops strategies to reduce air and climate pollution from the three largest container ports operating in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. This award-winning effort has been highly successful with recent emission inventories documenting that between 2005 and 2016, SO2 emissions have been reduced by 97%, diesel particulate emissions by 72%, black carbon emissions reduced by 41%, volatile organic chemicals by 29% and oxides of nitrogen by 23%.

Dennis was one of the founding leaders of the West Coast Diesel Collaborative formed to reduce diesel emissions in the Western US. The Collaborative convened stakeholders from industry, ports, agriculture and air quality agencies to develop strategies and funding sources to reduce diesel and black carbon emissions. As Chair of the Marine and Ports Working Group of the Collaborative, Dennis led efforts along the West Coast of the US and Canada to develop broad support for petitioning the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to form the North American Emission Control Area. The ECA requires use of dramatically cleaner fuels for marine vessels operating within 200 nautical miles of the coasts of the US and Canada and has resulted in as many as 30,000 lives saved annually due to reduced exposure to air pollutants.

While at the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, Dennis led development of programs to bring cleaner fuels to motor vehicles, reduce wood smoke in communities, provide funding to clean up diesel transit and school buses in Washington State and greatly improve air quality and public health. Dennis led formation of the State of Washington’s first climate change stakeholder process which ultimately led to passage of a wide variety of climate and air quality legislation in the state. A key legislative effort co-led by Dennis was adoption of the California emission standards for motor vehicles in Washington State.

Dennis serves on the boards of a number of public service organizations including the Leadership Council for the Puget Sound Partnership, the US arm of the Stockholm Environment Institute, the Salish Seas Institute at Western Washington University, the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission and PugetLNG. Recently, Dennis served as Co-Chair of Governor Jay Inslee’s Maritime Blue Advisory Committee which developed a strategy for a sustainable, low carbon maritime industry in Washington State. Dennis also recently received the 2019 Air and Waste Management Association’s S. Smith Griswold Award for his accomplishments in air quality.