Rachel Meidl joins Rice’s Baker Institute

Former DOT official named fellow in energy, environment at Center for Energy Studies

Rachel Meidl, former deputy associate administrator at the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, has been named a fellow in energy and environment at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, the institute announced July 30.


At DOT from July 2015 to June 2018, Meidl led development of domestic and international policy interests and oversaw the department’s delegations to the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization, the United Nations Transportation of Dangerous Goods Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency. In November 2016, Meidl was nominated by former President Barack Obama to the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, a position requiring Senate confirmation. The Senate did not act on the nomination in deference to the new administration taking office in January 2017.

Meidl’s appointment marks an expansion of the institute’s Center for Energy Studies (CES), which is ranked No. 1 among the world’s energy- and resource-policy think tanks, according to the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program’s 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report. The center provides policymakers, corporate leaders and the public with high-quality, data-driven analysis of issues that influence energy markets. Meidl will work with Kenneth Medlock, the James A. Baker III and Susan G. Baker Fellow in Energy and Resource Economics and senior director of CES.

“Rachel will be working with us to address some of the most daunting energy-related environmental and safety issues of the day, and she brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective,” Medlock said. “We are very excited Rachel is joining the CES.”

At the institute, Meidl will research the intersection between domestic and international policy and law as it relates to the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes, upstream and end-of-life management of byproducts and wastes, alternative and renewable energy and energy-recovery technologies, chemical safety reform, and safety and environmental regulation of the transportation of oil, natural gas, liquefied natural gas and other petroleum liquids, refined fuels and chemicals within the U.S.

Prior to her role in federal government, Meidl was the director of regulatory and technical affairs at the American Chemistry Council in Washington, D.C., where she advanced a broad range of regulatory and policy issues that involved enforcement, compliance, investigations and litigation. The issues she oversaw included Toxic Substances and Control Act reform; hazardous waste management and emergency response under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; contaminated site issues under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act; the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals standard; and issues under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Risk Management Program, Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program and Green Chemistry initiatives.

Meidl holds a doctorate in law and public policy from Northeastern University, a master’s degree in environmental policy and management with a concentration in environmental chemistry and international law from the University of Denver, a master’s in applied science and technology with certifications in physics and chemistry from National University, and bachelor’s degrees in conservation biology and zoology and animal physiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a certified hazardous materials manager.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.