Joan Leary Matthews

Senior Attorney, Safe Water Initiative, Healthy People & Thriving Communities Program

Joan Leary Matthews advocates for safe, sufficient, affordable water for all in a changing environment—with a focus on reducing lead in drinking water in schools, child care centers, and residences. Most recently, she served as the director of the Clean Water Division for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 2, where she directed the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and other programs for New York, New Jersey, eight Indian Nations, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Prior to that, Matthews was an associate commissioner for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in the Office of Hearings and Mediation Services. She also served for many years as a law professor at Albany Law School and as an assistant attorney general in New York. As an AAG, Matthews led the litigation team that successfully defended the state's adoption of California’s low-emission vehicle standards against automobile manufacturers, paving the way for other states’ adoption of those critical standards. She holds a bachelor’s in government and politics from the University of Maryland and a J.D. from Albany Law School. She is based in New York.


This website provides general information, not legal advice. If you need legal help, please consult a lawyer in your state. Joan does not hold herself out as a specialist in a particular area of law or law practice.