I was born in a small mining town in northern Canada called Flin Flon where pollution from local zinc and copper mines was an inescapable part of our daily lives. When the wind from the smelter blew in the direction of our home, the plants in our little backyard garden would literally wither and die. To this day, the ring of dead trees surrounding the town symbolize the environmental legacy of the mining industry. These childhood experiences made me acutely aware of the environmental and human health impacts of industrial pollution, but it was during my college years that I began to understand the socioeconomic factors that make some people more vulnerable than others. It was this introduction to environmental justice that inspired me to go to law school and to eventually join the movement.
I joined Earthjustice in February 2010 to work on coal issues and combat some of the same destructive pollution that affected my hometown. I’m proud to work on a truly progressive environmental agenda with such a highly talented group of people everyday.
Suma Peesapati joined Earthjustice in February 2010 as a staff attorney for the coal campaign. Before coming to Earthjustice, Suma worked at Adams Broadwell Joseph & Cardozo where she represented various labor unions and environmental groups on issues such as refinery and power plant pollution and the environmental impacts related to residential and commercial development projects. Before that, Suma worked as a staff attorney for Communities for a Better Environment where she was a NAPIL / Equal Justice Works fellow.
Suma received her Bachelor of Arts in French literature and Bachelor of Science in conservation and resource studies from U.C. Berkeley in 1996 and a J.D from U.C. Hastings in 1999.