Community Partnerships Program

Jessica Chou for Earthjustice

707 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 4300
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(415) 217-2000

Media Inquiries

Keith Rushing
National Communications Strategist
(757) 897-2147

Legal Assistance Inquiries

Legislative Inquiries

Erica Martinez
Policy Advocate

Contacto de Prensa

Robert Valencia
Estratega de Comunicaciones y Asuntos Públicos Hispanos/Latinos
(212) 845-7376

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Who We Are

Earthjustice’s Community Partnerships Program works hand-in-hand with frontline communities fighting for a safe, just, and healthy environment.

Our Community Partnerships Program staff are based in Earthjustice’s offices in Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., and in Sacramento. See bar admissions for our attorneys.

Casandia BellevueAssociate Attorney

Byron ChanSupervising Senior Attorney

Thien ChauAssociate Attorney

Danny CooperLitigation Assistant

Khushi DesaiSenior Attorney

Oscar Espino-PadronSenior Attorney

Adam FrankelAssociate Attorney

Lisa FuhrmannSenior Research and Policy Analyst

Angela Johnson MeszarosManaging Attorney

Erica MartinezPolicy Advocate

Phuong PhamLegal Practice Manager

Lupe RuelasParalegal

Jonathan SmithSenior Attorney

Our Impact

Providing Legal and Advocacy Support

We provide community-led movements with legal and advocacy resources to help challenge polluters and ensure access to environmental benefits — no matter how long the fight.

Working Together

We act collectively with our community partners to transform social and political structures that stand in the way of equal access to a healthy environment.

Challenging the Status Quo

We take on the status quo by fighting to close dangerous regulatory loopholes; open access to information and records; increase transparency in environmental decision-making and polluting operations; and enforce federal, state, and local laws meant to protect communities from environmental harms.

Highlights of Our Work Include:

  • We’ve been working with the Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC) in Newark, N.J., to stop dangerous pollution from a municipal waste incinerator in the Ironbound neighborhood. The incinerator, owned by Covanta, is the state’s largest garbage incinerator and one of the largest single sources of air pollution in a community that is among the most polluted in the Northeast. With our legal support, ICC was able to force Covanta to develop new waste management practices, improve employee training, install monitoring cameras, conduct a health impact assessment, and pay a fine for violating the New Jersey Air Pollution Control Act. We’re now working with ICC to ensure Covanta follows through. Learn more.
  • We helped the Glendale, Calif., community stop a gas-fired power plant from being built — which would have locked the city into fossil fuel power for decades. Instead, city leadership is now exploring ways to deliver clean energy to Glendale. Learn more.
  • We supported the Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation in Southern California in a fight against a gas-fired power plant that would have been built on the banks of the Santa Clara River, also known as the Utom, which is sacred to Chumash peoples. With our legal support, the Wishtoyo forced the power company, Calpine, to withdraw its application for the Mission Rock plant. Learn more.
  • We produced a report that details how Quemetco — the last remaining secondary lead smelter in California — has exploited a failed regulatory structure to poison the air, soil, water, and surrounding communities. We are working with community members opposed to Quemetco’s proposal to increase its operations, to instead demand a transition away from the use of lead-acid batteries and secondary lead smelters, toward a cleaner future with alternative technologies. Learn more.
  • We’re working with communities in California’s Central Valley to challenge the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s decision to grant a number of unlawful loopholes that exempt the region’s four petroleum refineries — concentrated in the Bakersfield area — from requirements to monitor their toxic emissions. The region suffers from the worst air quality in the nation. Learn more.
  • We helped the West Long Beach, Calif., community hold Phillips 66 accountable for toxic gas leaks at its Carson and Wilmington refineries, after the local air quality management district failed to do so. The communities around the two refineries are among the most pollution-burdened in Southern California. Learn more.

Recent News
August 22, 2023 In the News: CAL Matters

Hidden Hazards: Toxic Waste in California

Angela Johnson Meszaros, Managing Attorney, Community Partnerships Program, Earthjustice: “It can’t be that a system that’s held together at best by bubble gum and baling wire is the thing that we’re doing in a developed nation to manage hazardous waste.”

August 15, 2023 In the News: KALB

Colfax Community Group Sues LDEQ Over Clean Harbors Permit Renewal

Thein Chau, Attorney, Community Partnerships, Program, Earthjustice: “Under the law, there are minimum requirements that hazardous waste incinerators need to meet, and they can’t go any lower. LDEQ failed to apply the law correctly despite the clear language.”

The fire at the incinerator in Miami-Dade County in 2023.
June 2, 2023 Document

Decades of Denial: The Environmental Injustice of EPA’s Failure to Regulate Incinerators

This report highlights four key issues that EPA must address when updating air emission standards from large municipal solid waste incinerators. Meet three communities exposed to unnecessary risk of harm from EPA’s current, weak rules.