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Al Huang, Senior Attorney, Environmental Justice, New York

Al Huang

I grew up in New Jersey, where there were a host of environmental problems, and when I went away for summer camp I was always teased about being from the "toxic waste" state. I also grew up feeling a strong connection with the earth, probably from my mom's Buddhist influence. So I always had a passion for environmental work, but hadn't decided how to make a career of it. When I learned about the tragedy of Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Ogoni activist who lost his life protesting against Shell Oil in Nigeria, that's when things clicked in my head. That environmental issues weren't just about preserving the natural world, but they were linked to all the other issues I cared about, human rights, civil rights, public health, and social justice. That epiphany lead me down the path to becoming a lawyer.

I work with NRDC because I think that even though environmental justice is by definition community-based, national green groups and communities should be working together toward common goals. Groups like NRDC started small, but now we have a wealth of expertise and resources that communities can tap into to create social change on a grassroots level. To me, that's what environmental justice is about, building power by working together in a way that respects communities.

Recent Posts

The 20th Anniversary of President Clinton's Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice

Posted February 10, 2014 by Al Huang in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably, The Media and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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February 11, 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of President Bill Clinton's signing of the historic Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice "Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations." The landmark Order was the first major federal action...continued

Hurricane Sandy's Disproportionate Impact on NYC's Most Vulnerable Communities

Posted November 15, 2012 by Al Huang in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably, Solving Global Warming

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When Hurricane Sandy tore through New York City on October 29, 2012 it left in its wake thousands of people who are still struggling to recover.  The images seared into our collective memory from the days following Sandy are those...continued

"Poster Child" for Environmental Racism Finds Justice in Dickson, TN

Posted December 8, 2011 by Al Huang in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment

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“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”  Frederick Douglass (1855) After a nine-year struggle, today Sheila Holt-Orsted and her family can finally put to...continued

Proposed EPA Budget Cuts Will Hurt Environmental Justice Communities

Posted July 30, 2011 by Al Huang in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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This past week, the full House of Representatives began consideration of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, FY 2012 (H.R. 2584).  As many of my colleagues have already blogged, H.R. 2584 includes many anti-environmental riders and amendments that...continued

BP's Real Worker Safety Record: Intentional Disregard for OSHA Laws

Posted June 2, 2010 by Al Huang in Environmental Justice, Moving Beyond Oil, U.S. Law and Policy

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The pressure is mounting on BP to address worker safety issues.   It was reported today that an official with the Department of Labor authored an internal memo earlier this week citing “significant deficiencies” in BP’s handling of the health issues facing...continued

DOL and OSHA Must Protect Workers & Fishermen

Posted May 27, 2010 by Al Huang in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, Moving Beyond Oil

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This morning reports surfaced that at least 4 fisherman, who were working for BP to clean up the oil spill, have been hospitalized with health problems related to their exposure to oil.  My colleague Dr. Gina Solomon has blogged on...continued

Summer of Tears: A Fisherman's Story

Posted May 26, 2010 by Al Huang in Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, Moving Beyond Oil

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Michael Roberts from Louisiana Bayoukeeper wrote this (see below) heartbreaking account on the BP oil spill's impact on local fishermen in Barataria Bay, LA after he surveyed the oil spill by boat this past Sunday. Two weeks ago, NRDC President Frances Beinecke and staff met with...continued

Human Cost of Oil - Gulf Coast Oil Spill

Posted May 13, 2010 by Al Huang in Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, Moving Beyond Oil

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On Tuesday, a group of NRDC staff, including our President Frances Beinecke, spent the day meeting with local fishermen, oystermen, shrimpers, and environmental justice leaders from Louisiana; Biloxi, Mississippi; and Mobile, Alabama to learn about how the BP Gulf Coast...continued

Environmental Justice for All: Protecting Communities Fairly and Fully

Posted November 25, 2008 by Al Huang in Environmental Justice

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The election of Obama as President provides a transformational opportunity to make good on the promise for an America where every person, regardless of their race or income, enjoys the right to a healthy environment. Over the past 8 years we've seen unprecedented...continued

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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