Heroes of the Week: Diane Wilson and her Legal Team

Diane Wilson rallies activists near Lavaca Bay. Image: Charlie Blalock

A federal judge approved a historic $50 million settlement agreement Tuesday between Taiwan-based plastics manufacturer Formosa and a scrappy environmental activist represented by indigent legal services nonprofit Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid. The settlement is the largest in U.S. history involving a private citizen’s lawsuit against an industrial polluter.

As the Texas Tribune reported, it all started when Diane Wilson, a retired shrimper and an environmental activist, sued Formosa in July 2017, alleging that its Port Comfort plant had illegally discharged thousands of plastic pellets and other pollutants into Lavaca Bay and other nearby waterways. Environmental group San Antonio Bay Estuarine Waterkeeper, represented by two private attorneys, joined Wilson in the suit.

We commend Diane as well as Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid for fighting this fight. Without hard-fought lawsuits such as these, big polluters would have few deterrents from dumping harmful substances into the environment. This is really difficult work and we owe a lot to people like Diane.

Up Next

Climate Deniers Turn to QAnon to Spread Misinformation

Climate Deniers Turn to QAnon to Spread Misinformation

by Natasha Lasky and Miro Korenha A recent study from online network analysis firm Graphika suggests that the loudest voices perpetuating climate change denial have started sharing content and hashtags from the QAnon conspiracy movement. Researchers speculate that this partnership is tactical, as followers of the QAnon movement— who are already skeptical of science — […]

Continue Reading 429 words
Hero of the Week: Arshak Makichyan

Hero of the Week: Arshak Makichyan

Arshak Makichyan is a 26-year-old climate activist in Moscow, Russia who has been inspired by Greta Thunberg’s strikes for climate and activism. But, as Reuters reported, “unlike the Swedish teenager, who has galvanized a global movement of young environmentalists, Russia’s tough protest laws and people’s general apathy towards activism has made the 26-year-old’s campaign a […]

Continue Reading 156 words
Justice Ginsburg’s Death Puts Supreme Court on Even Shakier Ground for Environmental Cases

Justice Ginsburg’s Death Puts Supreme Court on Even Shakier Ground for Environmental Cases

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a rock-steady vote in favor of environmental protection and sympathetic on issues involving clean water and air.

Why This Matters:  There are many challenges to President Trump’s rollbacks of environmental laws that are working their way to the Supreme Court. Once there, the Court can effectively re-write those laws narrowing them considerably by upholding the Trump deregulatory position even if it is contrary to prior interpretations or other plausible interpretations of the statute itself. 

Continue Reading 606 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.