Eugene B. Benson, J.D.
Adjunct Professor, City Planning and Urban Affairs
Eugene B. Benson is executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC), a small nonprofit dedicated to preservation of wetlands, open space, and biological diversity through education and advocacy. MACC provides direct education and support to the hundreds of volunteers throughout Massachusetts who administer the state’s wetlands protection act through participation on local conservation commissions, in addition to holding the state’s largest annual environmental conference while advocating for better wetlands and conservation laws and policies.
Before moving to MACC, Benson was legal counsel and director of the environmental justice legal services program at Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE) in Roxbury, Mass., where he represented and advised residents and coalitions in low-income communities and communities of color on how to protect and improve their neighborhoods. Benson also helped found the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Alliance, served on the Executive Committee of Transportation for America, and was a member of the Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Report Advisory Committee.
His earlier positions include: associate general counsel and deputy general counsel at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, where he led environmental law practice, environmental enforcement, and regulatory practice; deputy general counsel at the Massachusetts Department of Public Welfare, where he managed two multi-lawyer units; executive director of Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services; chief attorney of the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau office in Frederick, Md.; and staff attorney on the Prince George’s County Senior Citizens Law Project in Maryland.
Benson is adjunct clinical professor of environmental health at Boston University’s School of Public Health, where he co-teaches environmental health, science, policy, and law; and he is adjunct part-time faculty at Boston University’s Metropolitan College city planning and urban affairs, where he teaches planning law, environmental law, and environmental justice and sustainability. He was a Givelber Distinguished adjunct professor of public interest law at Northeastern University, where he taught environmental justice law. His writing includes: “Commonwealth Makes Strides in Combating Environmental Injustice, but the Journey Has Just Begun,” which appeared in the Massachusetts Bar Association Section Review 2006; co-authored a chapter on Water Pollution Control concerning Massachusetts environmental law; and “Disclosure of Hydraulic Fracking Fluid Additives: Analysis of Regulations,” in New Solutions, A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy (2013).
Benson’s interests in people, place, and equity extend to his volunteer time. He was president of the board of trustees on The Food Project, president of the board of directors of the Mystic River Watershed Association, co-chair of the environmental law section of the Boston Bar Association, and helped found a local non-profit in his neighborhood that works to improve a local park.