Professor Breckenridge specializes in environmental and natural resources law. She began her career as an attorney with the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC, where she worked on some of the agency's initial regulatory efforts to implement the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. Professor Breckenridge continued her environmental work as an assistant attorney general with the state of Tennessee and the commonwealth of Massachusetts. She served as a law clerk for Judge Gilbert S. Merritt on the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 1977-1978.

Before joining the faculty of the School of Law, Professor Breckenridge was chief of the Environmental Protection Division for the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, where she was engaged in a wide range of litigation to enforce the requirements of federal and state air and water pollution statutes, hazardous waste management requirements, and wetlands and tidelands protection laws.

At Northeastern, Professor Breckenridge teaches courses in environmental law, wildlife and ecosystems law, land use zoning and planning law, and property. She also works with students on independent study projects focusing on a variety of related topics, such as urban environmental justice, affordable housing and federal lands management. In her research and advocacy work, she has a particular interest in aquatic ecosystems and in the evolution of property and regulatory systems to manage conflicts over water flow and quality. As a member of the board of directors of the Charles River Watershed Association and a participant in other government task forces, she has advocated for new policies and regulations to manage urban infrastructure and land uses in order to maintain adequate water quality and instream water flows in rivers and streams.

Fields of Expertise

  • Environmental Law
  • Natural Resources Law
  • Land Use 
  • Administrative Law
  • Property

Selected Works

Selected Articles

  • “3Qs: Why Court Ruling on Emission Reductions Is 'Important and Influential,” news@Northeastern (June 6, 2016).
  • Green Infrastructure in Cities: Expanding Mandates under Federal Law, 45(6) Trends: ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Newsletter (August 2014).
  • “Special Challenges of Transboundary Coordination in Restoring Freshwater Ecosystems,” 19 Pacific McGeorge Global Business & Development Law Journal 13 (2006).
  • “Can Fish Own Water?: Envisioning Nonhuman Property in Ecosystems,” 20 Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law 293 (2005).
  • “Maintaining Instream Flow and Protecting Aquatic Habitat: Promise and Perils on the Path to Regulated Riparianism,” 106 West Virginia Law Review 595 (2004).
  • “Non-Profit Environmental Organizations and the Restructuring of Ecosystem Management Institutions,” 25 Ecology Law Quarterly 692 (1999).
  • “State Enforcement and Settlement Policies Regarding Internal Compliance Programs” 5 Corporate Conduct Quarterly 4 (1997) (co-author).
  • “Reweaving the Landscape: The Institutional Challenges of Ecosystem Management for Lands in Private Ownership,” 19 Vermont Law Review 363 (1995).
  • “Protection of Biological and Cultural Diversity: Emerging Recognition of Local Community Rights in Ecosystems under International Environmental Law,” 59 Tennessee Law Review 735 (1992).

Selected Chapters

  • “State Surveys: Massachusetts, in 4 Waters and Water Rights, Third Edition, ed. R. Beck et al. (2009) with supplements (2014).
  • Ecosystem Resilience and Institutional Change: The Evolving Role of Public Water Suppliers, in Cities of the Future: Towards Integrated Sustainable Water and Landscape Management, ed. V. Novotny et al. (IWA Publishing, 2007).
  • “Fractal Federalism: Evolving National-State Relations in US Environmental Law,” in Government Structures in the USA & the Sovereign States of the Former USSR: Power Allocation Among Central, Regional, and Local Governments, ed. J. Hickey et al. (Greenwood Press, 1996), 275.
  • “Making Waste Recoverable: European Waste Oil Programs,” in America’s Future in Toxic Waste Management, ed. B. Piasecki et al. (1987).