Susan Margaret Floyd can teach herself anything. That’s a skill she’s drawn from a decade-long career as a schoolteacher, and it’s vital to her work as senior counsel—environmental at Entergy Services (Entergy), where she practices environmental law.
Floyd has advised on matters related to regulatory requirements under a slew of environmental laws, like the Clean Water Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act.
But even as environmental regulations and statutes change with each administration in Washington, her adaptability and passion for protecting the environment remain steadfast.
“It’s important to be working on something you’re passionate about, because you’re going to do the best job you can, but you’re also going to continue to grow and become the best you can be at whatever you’re called to do,” she says.
Floyd, a Mississippi native currently living in New Orleans, planned to attend law school after college, but life had other plans. In need of a summer job, she started teaching at a preschool. She loved it so much that what started as a temporary stopover morphed into a twelve-year career in education.
When she turned thirty-five, she took stock of where she was and thought, “If I don’t go to law school, I’m going to regret not going.” The example of her maternal grandparents, both attorneys, had long inspired her. She also wanted to apply her interest in solving problems and love of learning to law.
“You never finish learning; that’s why it’s called practicing law,” she says. “You’re constantly learning, and there are different problems that come up that you have to apply the facts to. I like that too because you have to get creative sometimes.”
Eager to dive in, Floyd enrolled in law school at the age of thirty-eight.
While she was in school, she got a call from an attorney at Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes, a local law firm in Jackson, Mississippi. The attorney said a friend of his had recommended her for a contract research assistant position and offered her the job. It was her first glimpse into environmental law. She’s been hooked ever since, she says.
“I fell in love with it,” she says. “Every project he gave me to research, I liked it more.”
The firm eventually offered her a full-time position, where she worked for four years after graduation. In that position, she gained experience related to natural resource damage assessment under the Oil Pollution Act, with BP as a client. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the assessment is a process to determine the appropriate type and amount of restoration needed to offset impacts created by oil spills, hazardous waste sites, and vessel groundings.
Her experience in the process came amid the Deepwater Horizon spill, when BP’s mobile offshore drilling unit exploded, burned, and sank in the Gulf of Mexico fifty-two miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana. About 3.19 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf over the following eighty-seven days. After the spill, numerous public meetings took place from Texas to Florida, and Floyd’s job was to cover them. She helped develop and identify criteria in the selection of restoration projects.
That work led to her appointment on a legal advisory group a decade later for Louisiana’s Climate Initiative Task Force. The task force is part of a yearlong project where officials are developing a plan to lower greenhouse gas emissions in the state, maintain the coast, and preserve wetlands. Floyd and other advisory board members are tasked with providing legal support to task force members. Her hands-on involvement means a lot to her due to her passion for maintaining and sustaining the environment, she says.
“I like that I’m involved in the environmental legal side and in an aspect that I can advise to make the best decisions possible for a sustainable community and preservation,” she says.
That belief underscores what is so special about her role at Entergy, a Fortune 500 integrated energy company engaged in electric power production and retail distribution operations in the Deep South of the United States.
Floyd says there’s no such thing as a regular day working at the company, but her responsibilities always revolve around making sure it is in compliance with environmental regulations and laws. She works to support environmental teams in each business unit at the company to address legal concerns. She’s also involved with the transactional side of things, as the company diversifies its power generation portfolio by buying and selling.
One project she says she’s proud to have worked on was facilitating a multiparty agreement between multiple New York State entities and Holtec International, a decommissioning company that acquired Entergy’s Indian Point Energy Center in May 2021. The agreement took two years, and the companies undertook it amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which posed challenges.
When Floyd isn’t working, she’s most likely enjoying the outdoors. She also tries to do her part to preserve the environment every day with small and simple actions. For instance, she refrains from using paper plates and plastic bottles, and she’s careful about how much gas she uses. Additionally, she’s mindful of turning off lights when she doesn’t need them.
Whether it’s through the complex work she tackles in her multifaceted role at Entergy or her attentive surveying of daily habits, Floyd’s commitment to environmental stewardship comes through in every aspect of her life. She lives her passions—and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Quattlebaum, Grooms & Tull PLLC:
“Susan’s wide-ranging legal expertise and depth of industry knowledge distinguish her. They enable us to focus quickly on how we can achieve the client’s objectives. It is a real pleasure to collaborate with her.”
–Michael B. Heister, Managing Member