Mekela Panditharatne is an associate attorney with the Sustainable Food and Farming Program, based in New York. Mekela’s legal advocacy spans a variety of issues including health and the environment, sustainable food systems, clean water and climate-friendly agriculture.
At Earthjustice, Mekela has litigated and advocated to preserve and expand federal clean air and clean water protections nationwide. She also served as lead counsel on a federal Civil Rights Act matter, successfully guaranteeing the right for Spanish-language and other immigrant communities to participate in environmental decision-making in the state of Texas, including in decision-making around the siting of polluting industrial facilities.
Prior to Earthjustice, Mekela worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council where she litigated environmental justice cases and worked on policy analyses related to water, toxics, and natural disasters. Among other matters, Mekela challenged severe lead contamination in drinking water in Newark, New Jersey, and worked on post-disaster environmental issues in Puerto Rico. Mekela’s writing has been published in The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN Opinion and NBC News. She has co-authored nationally recognized reports and her writing has been entered into the Congressional Record in Congress. Mekela holds a J.D. from Yale Law School where she was an editor on the Yale Journal on Regulation.
Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.