Our Staff

Nathaniel Kane

Executive Director

Nathaniel Kane was named Executive Director of ELF in 2020. Nat joined ELF as a staff attorney in 2014.

At ELF, Nat has developed the organization’s environmental justice practice, working on issues surrounding agricultural pollution of the state’s drinking water. His other practice areas include protecting water quality and flows for salmonid restoration, public access to public records and data, and enforcing right to know and consumer protection laws.

Previously, he completed a two-year environmental law fellowship at Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP. There, he represented local governments and nonprofit groups in land use and environmental litigation, including regulatory takings, CEQA, and eminent domain cases.

Nat graduated from New York University School of Law in 2011. While at NYU, he interned at the Natural Resource Defense Council’s Santa Monica and New York offices, and at Earthjustice’s Seattle office.

Prior to law school, Nat worked in the energy field in Portland, Oregon, consulting on cases targeting market manipulation in the electricity markets. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2006 with a B.A. in environmental studies and politics, philosophy, and economics, and was president of the ski team.

Nat spends his spare time parenting his baby daughter, climbing, and backcountry skiing.

Lowell Chow

Staff Attorney

Lowell Chow has been with ELF since 2012. Before joining ELF, he was a fellow and then staff attorney at the First Amendment Project, where he represented journalists in obtaining access to government records. Since he joined the ELF team, Lowell’s practice has focused on Proposition 65 enforcement and preserving and protecting California’s water resources. He was named by California Lawyer as one of its 2015 Attorneys of the Year.

He is a photographer, Web developer, and typographer in his spare time—all hobbies stemming from a past life pursuing the creative and technical arts. He is a graduate of Harvard University and the UC Davis School of Law.

James Wheaton

Legal Director and Secretary/Treasurer of the Board

James Wheaton is Legal Director and Secretary/Treasurer of the Board of the Environmental Law Foundation and Senior Counsel for the First Amendment Project. He teaches Journalism Law at the Graduate Schools of Journalism at both Stanford and UC Berkeley.

He has been honored for his work with awards by California Lawyer as Attorney of the Year, the Daily Journal as one of its Top 100 Lawyers in California, the Playboy Foundation, the Society of Professional Journalists Northern California Chapter, and the Ecology Law Quarterly.

His political work includes writing and running or chairing campaigns for statewide initiatives in the last 25 years on topics such as insurance regulation, campaign finance and political reform, marijuana legalization, old growth forestry, consumer privacy, and litigation reform.

As a volunteer he is an advisor to the California State Bar’s Environment Section Executive Committee and chaired its Yosemite Environmental Institute. He is a trustee of River Network, and past-President of Friends of the River. He has served as a City of Oakland Public Ethics Commissioner, as Executive Director of California Common Cause, and as chair of the Society of Professional Journalists (NorCal) FOI Committee.

He is a graduate of Brown University and Berkeley Law School. He is a white water rafter and kayaker, trains whitewater guides, skippers a sailboat on San Francisco Bay, and canoes. He has recently retired from seven years of coaching Little League baseball, and still umpires. He has been noted for his work in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, California Lawyer, Playboy, Outside, and Rolling Stone magazines.