Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission

M. Joel Bolstein, Esq.

Commission Chair

M. Joel Bolstein was appointed to serve as Interim Chair of the PHRC on April 18, 2016, and named Chair in October 2018.

Bolstein is currently a partner in the law firm of Fox Rothschild, LLP, where his practice consists of environmental law and governmental affairs. His environmental practice focuses on brownfields redevelopment and the reuse of old industrial sites. Bolstein assists developers, including homebuilders, with environmental-related construction issues, including permit procurement, erosion and sedimentation controls, and environmental assessments and remediation. He also advises clients on permit and enforcement actions and regulatory compliance. He also represents buyers, sellers, lenders, and public entities in corporate and real estate transactions.

Bolstein's government affairs practice focuses on obtaining legislative, regulatory, and administrative solutions for clients at all levels of government. He has assisted clients on matters involving legislation, permits, enforcement actions, contracting, and procurement challenges.

Bolstein served three terms on the U.S. EPA's National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy & Technology. From January 1995 to July 1997, he was Deputy Secretary for Special Projects at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. He was involved in a wide variety of areas, including permit and enforcement decisions and the development of policies and regulatory initiatives. He served as a trouble-shooter between the Department of Environmental Protection and the regulated community and worked on projects involving the reuse of industrial sites and the promotion of economic development. As Deputy Secretary, he managed the implementation of Pennsylvania's Land Recycling Act (Act 2 of 1995) and helped write the regulations for the land-recycling program. He also represented the commonwealth in the Republican Governors Association Task Force on CERCLA reform.

Bolstein is a former member of the American Bar Association's (ABA) Standing Committee on Environmental Law. He is also a past officer in the ABA's Section on Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law (now SEER), and currently serves as vice-chair of the Committee on Innovation, Management Systems and Trading and the Committee on Science & Technology. He is listed as one of the top environmental lawyers in Pennsylvania in the Chambers Guide USA, Best Lawyers, and PA Super Lawyers.

In 1995, he received the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Award for Excellence. In 1999, he was presented with the Excellence in Environmental Achievement Award from Bethlehem Steel Company for his work on the Bethlehem Works Project, the largest brownfield site in the country. In January 1999, Governor Ridge appointed Bolstein to a five-year term on Pennsylvania's Human Relations Commission, which is responsible for developing state policy and regulations and adjudicating claims alleging discrimination in the areas of housing, employment, and educational opportunities. He was reappointed by Governor Rendell in 2005 and 2010.