Environmental Justice Legal Services
“We should all be equal.”
—Virginia Jeppson, ACE Member and Brockton resident
See Virgina's story.
Our EJ Legal Services Program provides legal and technical assistance and capacity-building services to help strengthen and support grassroots groups throughout Massachusetts working to protect and improve the natural and built environment and public health in their communities. ACE also coordinates the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Assistance Network (MEJAN), a network of more than 200 attorneys, law firms, public health professionals, and environmental consultants, who provide pro bono assistance to groups throughout the state.
How to Request Legal or Technical Assistance
ACE provides legal & technical assistance to neighborhood groups who:
- Are in a low income community and/or a community of color;
- Need help with an environmental, development, or public health problem; and
- Are willing to work together with their neighbors to fix it
ACE and its network of volunteer professionals, the MEJAN, are available to provide services to eligible grassroots groups free of charge.
For more information download the Services Program Brochure in .pdf format.
If you would like to request legal or technical assistance from ACE, please contact Staci Rubin at (617) 442-3343 x236.
We need volunteer attorneys, environmental consultants and public health professionals! These professionals play a crucial role in helping community groups combat environmental injustice in their neighborhoods. Please consider joining the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Assistance Network.
To find out more, complete the MEJAN Registration Form and return to ACE by mail, or call Staci at (617) 442-3343 x 236.
Executive Order on Environmental Justice signed!
- Statewide: For five years, our Massachusetts Environmental Justice Alliance has organized to pass an Executive Order on Environmental Justice in the state. On November 25, 2014, Governor Deval Patrick signed it into law. See our factsheet [pdf] for more information on how this Executive Order will make all of our lives greener, healthier and safer.
- Revere: Residents of Chelsea, East Boston, and Revere, supported by ACE lawyers, convinced Global Partners' to withdraw their proposal to transport dangerous amounts of ethanol by train through densely populated neighborhoods.
- Statewide: The Green Justice Coalition, supported by ACE lawyers, participated in the Department of Public Utilities review of the state utilities’ 2013-2015 energy efficiency plans and obtained a decision acknowledging for the first time that there are barriers for renters, limited English language speakers, and working class residents in accessing energy efficiency services. The Department required the utilities to overcome these barriers and work with the Green Justice Coalition to find solutions. This victory will help thousands of renters and moderate income families lower their utility bills, live in more comfortable housing, and have funds to cover the costs of basic needs.
- Brockton: Brockton and West Bridgewater residents, represented by ACE lawyers, scored a major victory when the Energy Facilities Siting Board ruled that the company proposing a power plant in Brockton could not use municipal drinking water to run its cooling towers. The company also withdrew its proposal to use diesel fuel for the plant.
- Chelmsford: Opposition from Chelmsford Advocates for a Safe Environment defeated a plan to increase the size of asphalt and oil storage tanks in the town.
- Chelsea: Chelsea residents, represented by ACE lawyers, defeated a proposal to build a diesel-fired power plant in their city across the street from the city's elementary school. Community members of the Chelsea Green Space and Recreation Committee, represented by ACE lawyers, achieved a first in Massachusetts when the Administrative Magistrate allowed them to participate in a DEP Penalty Case against Eastern Minerals.
- Dorchester: The United Neighborhood Association successfully challenged at the Zoning Board of Appeals an occupancy permit that had been issued to an auto repair garage that was not zoned for their residential neighborhood.
- Mystic River: Representatives of the Mystic River Watershed Collaborative, represented by ACE lawyers, successfully got one million dollars, to be paid in a criminal case, designated to the Massachusetts Environmental Trust to be used to improve water quality in the Mystic River Watershed.