The official website of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council

Council Staff - Justin R. Ehrenwerth

Justin Ehrenwerth Bio Pic  Justin R. Ehrenwerth
    Executive Director


Justin R. Ehrenwerth serves as Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council). Created by the RESTORE Act of 2012 and comprised of the Governors of the five Gulf Coast States and Secretaries from six federal agencies, the Council is responsible for restoring and protecting the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, coastal wetlands and economy of the Gulf Coast.

Prior to joining the Council, Ehrenwerth served as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of Commerce. As Chief of Staff, he assisted the Deputy Secretary in overseeing issues of management, policy and strategic planning for the Commerce Department which has an annual budget of $8 billion and approximately 47,000 employees.

Previously, Ehrenwerth served as Assistant Counsel to the President in the White House Counsel’s Office where he was a member of the Oversight and Litigation group representing the White House in Congressional investigations and advising Federal agencies on oversight matters. In conjunction with the Department of Justice, he worked with Counsel from across the Executive Office of the President on issues related to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Multidistrict Litigation.

During the first two years of the Obama administration, Ehrenwerth served in the Department of Commerce’s Office of General Counsel. As Counsel, he assisted with the management of over 325 lawyers in fourteen offices and drafted numerous legal opinions. Ehrenwerth received the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) General Counsel's Award for Excellence for work related to the response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

Ehrenwerth has held leadership positions on a number of national and statewide political campaigns including the Obama for America and Kerry-Edwards campaigns. He has been active in the non-profit sector having worked at the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics and the Northern California Grantmakers. He also served as a Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Teaching Fellow as well as a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs. Ehrenwerth currently serves on the Board of the Coro Center for Civic Leadership. 

Ehrenwerth is a summa cum laude graduate of Colby College and holds an MA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.