Environmental Defense Center Brings on New Staff

February 25, 2020

Santa Barbara — The Environmental Defense Center (EDC) is proud to announce three new staff members have been brought on to replace departing employees. They include Staff Attorney, Elizabeth Fisher, Office Manager & Event Coordinator, Daniel Elkin, and Development Coordinator, Jessica Dias. At the same time the organization has created a new leadership position, and promoted Betsy Weber, its longtime Communications Director to take on the position of Assistant Director. These staff transitions come at a critical time for the nonprofit public interest law firm, with growing public awareness of the urgency of global warming, and facing a hostile federal administration, an empowered oil industry, and a significant load of climate-related cases.

Elizabeth Fisher joined EDC as its newest Staff Attorney, bringing extensive experience with environmental law, and in overseeing complex and diverse caseloads with the Kern County Superior Court and Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. A new arrival to Santa Barbara County, Elizabeth has also served as the Assistant Solicitor General for the State of North Carolina and has litigated clean water act enforcement and other environmental cases with a private public-interest firm. Elizabeth earned her BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before going on to Tulane University Law School where she earned her J.D. and graduated Magna Cum Laude with an Environmental Law Certificate.

Daniel Elkin, a recent graduate from UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, stepped in to fill the role of EDC’s Office Manager & Event Coordinator. Daniel came to EDC with significant environmental and nonprofit experience. Prior to enrolling at Bren, Danny lived in San Francisco, working at Sierra Club and Aquarium of the Bay, where he was an integral part of the leadership of the aquarium’s outreach team designing and implementing k-12 education programing focused on ocean science and climate change. An accomplished Bluegrass musician, Daniel also plays mandolin in the popular local band Salty Strings.

Jessica Dias joined as EDC’s new Development Coordinator, bringing financial experience and cultivated skills in database management and event planning to support EDC’s mission. Jessica’s administrative business and nonprofit experience come from her work as a trust officer in the banking industry, an executive assistant for Allen Construction, and an assistant for a nonprofit land trust foundation in South Carolina. These experiences together make Jessica a great fit to elevate EDC’s development operations.

Finally, Betsy Weber, EDC’s longtime Communications Director, has been promoted to the newly created position of Assistant Director. Betsy will continue to help lead EDC’s messaging, media, and outreach efforts, but she will also take a leadership role in managing staff, and ensuring all of EDC’s administrative systems are adequate to meet the needs of the organization in service of our clients and community. Betsy first joined EDC in 2007 and has long been central to EDC’s successes. Her promotion to this newly created senior role will provide significant benefits as EDC faces major challenges associated with climate change and growing pressure to expand fossil fuel development across our region.


The Environmental Defense Center protects and enhances the local environment through education, advocacy, and legal action and works primarily within Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties. Since 1977, EDC has empowered community-based organizations to advance environmental protection. EDC’s focus areas include protection of the Santa Barbara Channel, ensuring clean water, preserving open space and wildlife, and addressing climate and energy. Learn more about EDC at www.EnvironmentalDefenseCenter.org.


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