About the Environmental Law Institute

The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) is an internationally recognized independent research and education organization.  Since 1969 it has served as a non-partisan source of information about environmental law, policy, and management.  ELI fosters innovative, just, and practical law and policy solutions to enable leaders across borders and sectors to make environmental, economic, and social progress.  The Institute does this by building the capacity of decision-makers and leaders, researching and analyzing pressing environmental challenges, bringing together diverse groups of people to build shared understanding, and disseminating information online and in print.  We do not litigate or lobby.

The Ocean Program Team



Xiao Recio-Blanco
Director. Ocean Program
(202) 939-3863

Xiao Recio-Blanco is a Staff Attorney and Director of the Ocean Program. He has conducted legal research on the regulation of small-scale fisheries in developing nations, the implementation of Marine Spatial Planning, the negotiation of maritime boundaries agreements, the creation of transboundary Marine Protected Areas, and the regulation of ocean renewable energy.

Before joining ELI, Xiao was an attorney at Banco Santander in Madrid (Spain), and an Associate Professor of International Law at CIDE (Mexico City). He was also a Visiting Attorney at Earthjustice in the District of Columbia. He holds a J.D. from the Complutense University of Madrid, and a S.J.D. from Duke University School of Law.


Jay Austin
Senior Attorney
(202) 558-3103

Jay Austin, Senior Attorney, has been at the Environmental Law Institute since 1992. He has worked extensively on the Institute’s water and ocean projects, including studies of ecosystem-based management, coastal and marine spatial planning, wetland mitigation, nonpoint source pollution, and Western water issues. He graduated with honors from the University of Virginia School of Law, and and served as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Michael Boudin in US District Court for the District of Columbia.


David Roche
Staff Attorney
(202) 939-3804

David Roche is a Staff Attorney at ELI. He works with the Ocean Program on regional ocean and coastal governance issues, with an emphasis on supporting coastal community health and resilience in the U.S. Arctic and Gulf of Mexico. David holds a JD magna cum laude from Duke University School of Law, an MA in Environmental Science from Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, and a BA with honors in Environmental Science from Columbia University.

Amy Streitwieser     Amy Streitwieser
     Staff Attorney
     (202) 939-3246

Amy Streitwieser, Staff Attorney, first joined ELI as a law clerk in 2012. She works primarily on domestic law and policy topics, including indoor environments and green buildings, Gulf of Mexico restoration, and the Clean Water Act.  Prior to joining ELI, Amy served as a law clerk for Ventura Coastkeeper in California and spent time in Ecuador working on a campaign to clean up oil pollution in the Amazon basin.  Amy graduated magna cum laude from Duke University with a B.A. in Spanish and holds a J.D. from UCLA School of Law.

Sofia Yazykova     Sofia Yazykova
     Staff Attorney
     (202) 939-3824

Sofia is a Staff Attorney at ELI. She has worked on projects related to climate change adaptation, environmental displacement and environmental migration, ocean resource management, marine spatial planning, marine protected areas, and marine litter. Sofia is particularly interested in how legal codes can be changed to incorporate considerations of climate change.  She holds a JD from Vermont Law School and is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.  

  Sierra Killian   Sierra Killian
     Research Associate
     (202) 939-3241

Sierra started as a Research Associate at the Environmental Law Institute in July 2018. She is involved in projects on environmental peacebuilding, green stormwater infrastructure, and small-scale fisheries management in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef region. Before joining ELI, Sierra worked on environmental policy issues including the transportation of oil in the Salish Sea region, adaptation to climate change in coastal California, and oil spill prevention in US Arctic waters. She has also done litigation research at the Natural Resources Defense Council and the US Department of Justice. Sierra is from Portland, Oregon, and graduated with a B.S. in Earth Systems from Stanford University.

Learn more about ELI Ocean Program’s Advisory Committee