At its Annual Environmental Conference (AEC) at Holy Cross College in Worcester on February 29, 2020, attended by 800 people, the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC) gave our founding partner Gregor McGregor recognition for his long service to environmental law in general, conservation law especially, and wetlands protection law most particularly.
Greg thanked MACC for the chance to “do good” for Massachusetts wetlands, waters and wildlife for almost 45 years.
He was flanked by two of his most cherished clients, Phyllis and Gerry Ingersoll, who with their mother Hope Ingersoll and Greg’s firm, in a precedent-setting NEPA case in Federal Court, saved Grazing Fields Farm, the last large working farm on Cape Cod, from the extension of Route 25 (now I-495), which now circumvents that portion of Buzzards Bay on its way to the Bourne Bridge.
The award was presented by Greg’s good friend Ingeborg Hegeman, herself a long-time wetland advocate, environmental scientist, conservation commissioner, corporate exemplar, and MACC past president, who added light touches to an otherwise serious occasion.
The text (excerpted and revised) reads as follows:
Greg is an active member of the environmental community: one who gets results, promotes new leaders, and reaches out to everyone. He has provided tremendous value to environmental law, MACC, Conservation Commissions and many organizations.
Greg has practiced environmental law for more than four decades. His court cases have impacted multiple areas of law and regulation, including NEPA, MEPA, wetland and floodplain protection, hazardous waste, tax exemptions for land conservation, open space preservation, and Home Rule wetland protection by cities and towns.
Before Greg entered private practice, he was an Assistant Attorney General in Massachusetts and the first chief of the Attorney General’s Division of Environmental Protection. In that capacity, he advised and represented the Commonwealth during the formative years of Massachusetts environmental statutes, agencies, regulations, enforcement, and litigation.
One of his proudest accomplishments was helping to author the bill to codify the earlier 1963 Hatch Act and 1965 Jones Act into the 1972 Wetlands Protection Act that we have come to know and love. In 1975, he left the AG’s Office and started his own law firm in Boston, McGregor & Associates, now McGregor & Legere.
Over the years, Greg has taught and mentored many law students, young lawyers, and land use planners who have gone on to take prominent roles in environmental protection working at MassDEP, EOEEA, US EPA, cities and towns, environmental consulting and engineering firms, and local and regional non-profit organizations.
Greg successfully represented the Town of Dennis in one of the seminal cases establishing the right of a city or town in Massachusetts to have a non-zoning wetlands protection bylaw under its “Home Rule Authority” –a doctrine many have heard Greg cite many times over the years. This seminal case is Lovequist v. Conservation Commission of Town of Dennis, 379 Mass. 7 (1979).
Through his professional work, Greg was involved in two other seminal cases that clarify and expand what parklands are protected by Article 97 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution. Those cases are Mahajan v. DEP, 464 Mass. 604 (2013) and Smith v. City of Westfield, 478 Mass. 49 (2017).
Greg has been generous in his pro bono work for MACC, providing his firm’s resources to prepare at no or minimal cost to MACC “friend of the court” (amici curiae) briefs to the Massachusetts appellate courts. These legal memoranda assist the Supreme Judicial Court or Appeals Court consider the important environmental implications of the issues before them while arguing for an environmentally-friendly outcome.
Greg has contributed to several editions of MACC’s Environmental Handbook, helped to revise our popular model wetlands protection bylaw over the decades, and is the editor of the two-volume Massachusetts Environmental Law, published by Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc. (MCLE), which has recognized Greg with its Scholar-Mentor Award.
In addition to his professional achievements and contributions to the protection of wetlands and waterways, Greg has maintained a respectful and gracious demeanor. He extends friendships and keeps friends. His colleagues agree that it’s not Greg’s specific individual accomplishments that make him so special, it’s his deep dedication and sharing of that commitment, with a witty style, that is so exceptional and worthy of recognition.
Read more about Mr. Mcgregor and his experience by clicking here.