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Advocates for Environmental Human Rights (“AEHR”) is a nonprofit, public interest law firm whose mission is to provide legal services, community organizing support, public education, and campaigns focused on defending and advancing the human right to a healthy environment, and advocating for the human rights of internally displaced Gulf Coast hurricane survivors.

Learn more about current projects: OUR WORK

Breaking News

RSD Abandons Plan to Close the Cohen School Building and Relocate Students to a Former City Waste Dump in New Orleans

October 21, 2015 . . . AEHR is pleased to announce that the Recovery School District ("RSD") has abandoned its plan to close the Walter L. Cohen School building and relocate Cohen students to a school proposed on the former Clio Street/Silver City Dump in New Orleans, LA. "The RSD plan would have abused the human rights of Cohen students with the risk of toxic exposure to highly contaminated soil," said Nathalie Walker, AEHR Attorney and Co-Director. "In spearheading a litigation and public advocacy campaign against RSD's plan, AEHR has had the privilege to work with incredible parents, school alumni, and community stakeholders." she said.

READ Statement by AEHR Client Group, Walter L. Cohen Alumni Association

READ Federal Lawsuit Notice Letter by AEHR and Tulane Environmental Law Clinic

AEHR and Tulane Environmental Law Clinic send notice of intent to sue school authorities and contractors for legal violations arising from plan to build school for African Americans on a toxic waste dump in New Orleans.

Check out the news release (DOC)

View/download the Notice of Intent to Sue Letter (PDF)


BP Oil Drilling Disaster Five Years Later in Fishing Communities

Panel Discussions - Testimonials - Video Presentation - Call to Action

Read More

National Healthy Schools Day

Join us April 7, 2015
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
New Zion Baptist Church

National Healthy Schools Day
The first commemoration of National Healthy Schools Day in New Orleans to feature proposed legislation that would prohibit the building of a school on a toxic waste site.

Click here for full event details

Public Forum

Join us February 28, 2015
10:00 am - 12:30 pm

Public Forum on Safe School Environments
Dillard University
Professional Schools & Sciences Bldg. Room 131

Click here for full event details

Stopping Land Theft in Mossville, Louisiana
by the SASOL Corporation & Governmental Authorities

December 22, 2014
. . . On December 5, 2012, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced an agreement to give SASOL, a South African corporation, an economic incentive package worth nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in exchange for SASOL building two industrial facilities in southwest Louisiana, near the historic African American community of Mossville. Mossville residents did not learn of the agreement between the Governor and SASOL until it was reported by the local media. Neither Governor Jindal nor SASOL CEO David Constable mentioned Mossville residents in their remarks or discussed their plans for acquiring homes and lots in Mossville.

This report examines the actions taken by SASOL and governmental authorities to acquire land in Mossville that leave Mossville property owners vulnerable to land theft and displacement. This report concludes with recommendations for ensuring fair treatment of Mossville property owners and renters as well as other Louisiana residents who may find themselves targeted for industrial land acquisition in the future.

Read the Report

Documents cited in the report: Read Chemist Wilma Subra's Report
Read the SASOL/LED Agreement   |   Read the Port of Lake Charles Resolution

Sign the Petition
No More Schools, Homes on Toxic Dumps in New Orleans!

October 3, 2014
. . . No family or child should have to live or attend school on a toxic waste dump. But that is exactly the plan for spending $225 million of Hurricane Katrina recovery funds in New Orleans. This plan would repeat the tragic history of building schools and homes on toxic waste dumps in New Orleans.

Take a moment today to sign an important petition to New Orleans Mayor Landrieu and City Council members that urges them to reject all plans for building a school, more homes, and recreational center on the old Clio Street/Silver City Dump.

Sign the Petition

Read about the Silver City Dump

Climate Justice
Groups to Urge a Southern Initiative on Climate Change
at People's Climate March and Summit

September 19, 2014
. . . "The People's Climate March and Summit are about our human rights and how we want to live free from the control that the oil, gas, and coal industries currently have over our laws and economy," said AEHR's co-director Nathalie Walker. "This is a critical time as our coastal cities in the South are projected to be under water if we don't take control," she said.

View/Print News Release

Click here for more information about human rights and climate justice

AEHR Rx to Mayor and City Council

Town Hall Meeting

Read the complaint:
Walter L. Cohen Alumni Assoc. v. LA Dept. of Environmental Quality

Dead End
AEHR Files Lawsuit Against Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality   Air Permit Issued to Georgia Gulf Unlawfully Exposes Mossville Residents to Toxic Pollution   September 13, 2012 . . . "The record of the LDEQ's decision-making shows a blatant disregard for protecting the rights of Mossville families exposed to toxic pollution. LDEQ's cavalier approach to trampling on their rights raises the question of how many other Louisiana communities are being exposed to toxic pollution as a result of LDEQ unlawfully exempting companies from complying with health-based air standards," said Nathalie Walker, AEHR Co-Director & Attorney. READ MORE

EPA Denies Civil Rights Protection
September 16, 2011
. . . AEHR joins environmental justice groups in calling for the Department of Justice to take oversight of the EPA's mishandling of civil rights complaints.


Cancer Alley Case Gets Surprising Support - Living on Earth Radio
July 29, 2011
. . . The EPA and the State Department both declined to talk to Living on Earth as well. So we asked someone who advises on environmental human rights cases what this means. Barbara Johnston is a Senior Research Fellow for the Center for Political Ecology in Santa Cruz, California. She says the government's silence speaks volumes.
Johnston: "I think there's a minor war occurring (laughs) with all sorts of skirmishes over where our priorities are, whether we are actually going to actually demonstrate that we are indeed a nation that has great and huge concern of environmental justice, especially in cases of demonstrated environmental racism versus our economic liability. Because if the U.S. comes out with a petition that acknowledges its liability in this particular case, there is a very, very, very, very long list of injured parties out there."


AEHR Exposes Feinberg's Unequal Treatment of BP Illness Claims
July 28, 2011
. . . Kenneth Feinberg has denied all illness claims from the BP oil drilling disaster for lack of medical proof of causation. However, Feinberg rejected this standard of proof for toxic exposure-related illness claims that were paid from the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund and the Agent Orange Settlement Fund because of the inconclusive state of scientific evidence to show causation.


Kenneth Feinberg BP Cleanup Workers

One Year After the BP Oil Drilling Disaster - What the Gulf Needs Now
April 19, 2011
. . . What the Gulf needs now is a national galvanized commitment that supports the people of the Gulf - and gives them a voice in setting both the remedies for the deep wounds cut by the BP oil drilling disaster, as well as the path to a sustainable energy future that protects our human right to a healthy environment.

READ MORE | Read the Weeks Bay Principals for Gulf Recovery

BP Oil Disaster 1 Year Anniversary Memorial Event April 20, 2011
April 19, 2011
. . . Historic Fishing, Oyster Harvesting, and Shrimping Village to Memorialize the BP Oil Drilling Disaster in Plaquemines Parish with Marsh Grass Plantings and Mural - Diverse Gulf Communities Gather in Rememberance of the People and Communities Lost to the BP Disaster and Other Industrial Hazards.


UN-appointed independent expert to study USA's practices regarding the human right to water and sanitation
February 25, 2011
. . . UN-appointed independent expert Catarina de Albuquerque will visit the United States of America from 22 February to 4 March 2011. During her first mission to the country, she will collect first hand information about the policies and practices of the Government with respect to the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, focusing on non-discrimination and good practices in overcoming challenges in the drinking water and sanitation sectors.

READ MORE | READ AEHR's Testimony of Michele Roberts to The Independent Expert

US Government to Take on Human Rights Recommendations
November 9, 2010
. . . In a first-time review of the United States Government’s human rights record, known as the Universal Periodic Review (“UPR”), over 200 recommendations for protecting human rights were presented to the US Government.

Gulf Recovery & the US Human Rights Record

For the first time, the US Government will report on its human record to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on Nov. 5, 2010. Part of this record includes human rights abuses in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. AEHR and diverse community organizations in the Gulf Region are urging the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, a human rights-based standard that the US Government applies in foreign countries to ensure recovery after a disaster but has failed to apply at home. Without this implementation, a just and equitable recovery that includes coastal protection, disaster prevention, housing, health care, education, and economic opportunities will continue to be denied to Gulf Region residents.

Timeline of Events:

Jan. 25, 2010
- Obama Administration convenes session on human rights in the Gulf Region
Read More | Read US State Department Notes on Human Rights Consultation

Apr. 16, 2010
- AEHR and the Gulf States Human Rights Working Group submits report on human rights abuses to the UN Human Rights Council - Read the report

Aug. 24, 2010
- Obama Administration submits United States Human Rights Report to the UN Human Rights Council - Read the report

Nov. 1 - 5, 2010
- US Human Rights Network brings delegation of U.S. advocates to Geneva, Switzerland, who will present a film screening of human rights in the US and host discussion forums

Nov. 5, 2010
- US Governmental officials report on human rights record to the UN Human Rights Council, which will be webcast.

Nov. 9, 2010
- UN Human Rights Council issues observations on human rights in the United States
- AEHR and Gulf Region groups convene community forum to highlight these observations and the ongoing struggle for human rights in New Orleans and the Gulf Region

Katrina @ 5: A Just Recovery Timeline
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck America's Gulf Coast Region causing an estimated one million people to flee their communities - the largest number of internally displaced people in modern US history.

Victims of this natural disaster - exacerbated by man-made conditions and recovery efforts - deserve the right to return and a recovery in full compliance with the UN Guidelines on Internal Displacement. Below is a timeline of efforts towards a just recovery.

More from the Katrina Information Network
Katrina 5 Years Later Fact Sheet
Katrina @ 5 Commemoration Events
What you can do: Five calls to action

AEHR to Obama Administration: Take Action to Establish No Limit on Liability for BP's Oil Drilling Disaster & Ensure Full Recovery for America's Gulf Region
We ask you to aggressively pursue a determination that one or more of the five statutory exceptions under the Oil Pollution Act that remove the liability limit of $75 million has been met as a result of the actions taken by BP leading up to the oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico and/or in the oil removal work.
Read AEHR's Letter to the Obama Administration
Read AEHR Op-Ed: What If Kenneth Feinberg Resigned Tomorrow? The Perils of Ignoring a Rights-Based Recovery for America's Gulf Region
Read AEHR's Statement to the Congressional Black Caucus

AEHR Co-Director Monique Harden calls for health protection in the BP oil waste clean up on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann
AEHR to US Coast Guard: BP's Goal Is to Minimize Claims Pay-Outs, Obstruct Full Recovery
“The BP website refers claimants to ESIS, Inc. However, the "Recovery Services Fact Sheet" on the ESIS website states that the goal of its services is "reducing our clients' loss dollar pay-outs.”

Read More
AEHR's letter to Admiral Thad Allen
Admiral Thad Allen's letter to BP CEO Tony Hayward

Read Enclosures
ESIS Recovery Services Fact Sheet
Congressional Testimony of BP Official
Statement of Fishers, Seafood Workers, and Maritime Communities

Mossville on CNN
June 2, 2010
. . . Watch CNN's Special Report "Toxic America" that presents the human rights struggle by residents of Mossville, Louisiana to live in a healthy environment.
Support the human rights of Mossville residents
Read the latest "Toxic America" report

Learn More: Mossville Human Rights Petition | IACHR Admissibility Ruling | US Government's Reply Brief | video reports | "Industrial Sources of Dioxin Poisoning in Mossville, LA: A Report Based on the Government's Own Data" | Health Report on Mossville, LA

Know Your Rights - BP claims process
May 6, 2010
. . . AEHR has received many complaints from fishermen and shrimpers living in coastal communities regarding the BP claims process. To date, there has been no federal oversight to ensure that the claims process is fair and equitable and that interim, short-term claims are paid on an expedited basis.

READ AEHR's Know Your Rights: Damage Recovery after the BP Oil Drilling Disaster

AEHR Statement on the BP Oil Drilling Disaster
April 30, 2010
. . . On April 20, 2010, a deep water oil rig under contract to BP exploded and later capsized after several hours of burning about 50 miles south of Venice, Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico.

READ MORE | READ REPORT: What the Oil & Chemical Industries Fear | Read AEHR Questions for EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson | Read AEHR Op-Ed "Oil Spill Puts People of Color on Slippery Slope"

IACHR rules Mossville petition admissible for judicial review
March 30, 2010
. . . The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ruled in favor of admitting a human rights complaint filed by AEHR on behalf of people living in Mossville, Louisiana. The decision marks the first time that the Commission has taken jurisdiction over an environmental racism case in the United States.


Video report on MossvilleMossville
Read and watch’s report on pollution and environmental racism in Mossville, Louisiana. View EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s response to the IACHR ruling on Mossville Petition.
VIDEOS» Watch the story of Mossville

CNN special report - Toxic towns: People of Mossville 'are like an experiment'
February 26, 2010
. . . Gather current and former Mossville, Louisiana, residents in a room and you're likely to hear a litany of health problems and a list of friends and relatives who died young. Coming April 24, 2010 on CNN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta investigates pollution and health in Mossville, Louisiana, and across the country.


Obama Administration to Hold First Human Rights Consultation in New Orleans
January 25, 2010
. . . Members of the Obama Administration will travel to New Orleans to solicit information and recommendations regarding the US Government’s fulfillment of its obligation to protect human rights. New Orleans is the first of several cities where the administration will hold human rights consultation sessions with civil society.


New Orleans Group's Climate Change Advertisement in Copenhagen Newspaper Puts the Spotlight on the Gulf Region
December 16, 2009
. . . For each of the three final days of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, AEHR is running a full page newspaper advertisement that focuses on the trauma of Hurricane Katrina and 10 steps that President Obama can take to protect the Gulf Region and other communities vulnerable to climate change.


AEHR Thanks President Obama for His Upcoming Visit to New Orleans & Urges A New Direction on Gulf Coast Recovery
October 12, 2009
. . . President Obama will visit New Orleans on Thursday, October 15, 2009. "We are hopeful that President Obama's visit will be the beginning of a new direction on Gulf Coast recovery that is rooted in human rights protections," says AEHR Co-Director Nathalie Walker.


Community Conversation on Healthcare Reform
Tuesday, August 25, 2009 6:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. | Tulane Memorial Baptist Church, 3601 Paris Avenue, New Orleans, LA
. . . The Community Conversation on Healthcare Reform is a citizens’ coalition effort to shed light on both the steps taken by Congress in response to President Barack Obama’s call for national legislation to reform healthcare and the healthcare crisis affecting the people of New Orleans, Louisiana.


New Report Highlights Unique Challenges to Census 2010 in the Gulf Coast
Monday, August 24, 2009 11:00 a.m. | Children’s Defense Fund-Louisiana, 1452 North Broad Street, New Orleans, LA . . . The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) will hold a press conference to release a new report, "Counting in the Wake of a Catastrophe: Challenges and Recommendations for the 2010 Census in the Gulf Coast Region." The release of the report coincides with the four-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.


National Group of Investors to Examine the Environmental Impacts
of Industrial Corporations on Louisiana Communities

Friday, June 5, 2009 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. | The bus tour will depart from the Loews Hotel at 300 Poydras Street and continue to Mossville, LA. . . . Advocates for Environmental Human Rights (“AEHR”) will host a fact-finding mission on environmental justice for the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility ("ICCR"), which is holding its annual conference in New Orleans the week of June 2 - 5, 2009.


From Katrina to Copenhagen: Promoting a Fair Climate Agenda
You are invited to attend!
Friday, April 17, 2009 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, followed by a reception from 6:00 to 8:00 pm | Pan American Building located at 601 Poydras Street, New Orleans, LA . . . Unite with social justice advocates, youth, women leaders, faith leaders, community members and environmentalists to magnify our call for equal access to just climate and energy policies that safeguard our natural resources and prioritize the most vulnerable communities.


AEHR to Brief Congress on Innovations in Environmental & Health Policy
A Congressional Briefing Sponsored by U.S. Representative Donna Edwards (D-MD)
Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 12noon | Rayburn House Office Building - Room 2253, Washington, DC . . . The growing interest in moving our country towards a green economy is an important opportunity for Congress to not only work on legislation that supports sustainable technologies and job creation, but to also re-examine the effectiveness of the environmental regulatory system. A critical question for the 111th Congress is whether a green economy can be achieved with the current environmental regulatory system.


Advocates for Environmental Human Rights

832 Topaz Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70124-3628
Tel. 504.799.3060
Fax 504.799.3061

Monique Harden
Co-Director & Attorney

Nathalie Walker
Co-Director & Attorney