Jennie Romer, Esq. is a Legal Associate for the Surfrider Foundation’s Plastic Pollution Initiative. Surfrider's expansive network of more than 170 chapters and student clubs nationwide organize around plastic pollution policy through the lens of ocean protection. Jennie leads Surfrider’s policy efforts and litigation to reduce plastic pollution at local, state and national levels.
Jennie has more than a decade of experience as an attorney and sustainability consultant fighting for effective legislation on waste reduction and single-use plastics. Her knowledge is routinely sought by legislators, environmental nonprofits, and businesses across the U.S.
Jennie is a native of California and earned her JD from Golden Gate University School of Law. She also holds bachelor’s degrees in Zoology, Environmental Studies, and Black Studies from UC Santa Barbara. In addition, Jennie is a member of the state bars of California and New York.
After law school, Jennie was an associate attorney at a boutique environmental law firm in San Francisco where she represented organizations, such as the Center for Environmental Health, as well as a variety of plaintiffs in class actions. Jennie also volunteered her time with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to help re-draft San Francisco's original plastic bag ban.
In 2012, Jennie moved to New York City and served as pro bono counsel to City Council Member Brad Lander on the plastic bag law that passed in 2016. Jennie also coordinated the Bag It NYC Coalition in support of that bill. NYC's bag law was preempted by the state legislature. From this momentum, the New York State legislature later passed a statewide ban on plastic carryout bags.
According to Ian Frazier with The New Yorker, "Jennie believes that because of plastic bags’ wastefulness and the damage they do to the environment, humans will eventually use a lot fewer of them. New York’s acceptance of this change is only a matter of time. For the city to have come so far and so quickly toward rejection of the single-use disposable plastic bag, when ten years ago nobody in government was even talking about it, is partly because of her."
In 2019, Jennie created the Surfrider Foundation's Plastic Bag Law Activist Toolkit, her manifesto on plastics bag laws. As a Legal Associate for the organization, Jennie continues to contribute her extensive plastic pollution policy expertise to Surfrider’s nationwide network.