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Melissa Lin Perrella, Staff Attorney, Southern California Air Project, Santa Monica

Melissa Lin Perrella

I’m a mom to a toddler, daughter of immigrant parents, wife to an engineer, sister, runner, and lawyer for the environment. I went to college at U.C. Berkeley (Go Bears!) and moved to the East Coast for law school. I didn’t “always” know that I wanted to be a lawyer. It wasn’t until a couple years into college that I figured out that I wanted to pursue a career doing public interest work. With that said, I graduated law school with a job at a major, well-known corporate law firm. The hours were long and the stress was everything you hear about…times ten. But I learned a lot and grew some pretty thick skin. Oh, and I paid off my college debt! Flash forward ten years…I have a son and everything has changed. My priorities have shifted and the work I do has become even more relevant, even more pressing, and even more important. I’ve run a number of marathons (even qualified for Boston, yeah!) but it’s been hard to squeeze those in with a baby. Lately, if the choice is between sleeping in or hitting the pavement at 5 a.m., I usually choose sleep. A lot of people think long distance running is crazy, and maybe they are right. But there’s something quite beautiful that comes from pushing yourself to your outer limits.

Recent Posts

Five Year Anniversary of the Port of LA's Clean Truck Program

Posted September 24, 2013 by Melissa Lin Perrella in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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Nearly five years ago, in October 2008, the Port of Los Angeles began banning old, polluting trucks from doing business at the Port.  The Port’s award-winning Clean Truck Program was supported by a broad coalition of environmental, labor, community, and...continued

Bayonne Bridge Expansion Project Must Not Threaten the Health of Neighboring Communities

Posted August 1, 2013 by Melissa Lin Perrella in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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Yesterday afternoon, NRDC filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Coast Guard and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  The lawsuit challenges the Coast Guard’s decision to authorize the raising of the Bayonne Bridge without sufficiently evaluating the...continued

The Port of Los Angeles' Clean Truck Case to Be Heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday

Posted April 12, 2013 by Melissa Lin Perrella in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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If our name was Walmart, you wouldn’t even be having this lawsuit.  We’re operating like a private company.  David S. Freeman, Former President of the Port of Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners   Corporate America looks different today...continued

Toolkits to Fight Diesel Pollution, in America's Heartland and Beyond

Posted February 6, 2013 by Melissa Lin Perrella in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment

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I am in Kansas City, Missouri this week to speak at the New Partners Smart Growth Conference.  I am also here to meet with nearly 50 different advocates from across the country who are working to reduce the effects of...continued

Starting the New Year With Good News: California's Truck and Bus Rule Wins in Court

Posted January 3, 2013 by Melissa Lin Perrella in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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Just as the holiday season was kicking-in to high gear, California scored a victory in the courtroom that will clean our air and save lives.  On December 19, 2012, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California...continued

California ships required to use cleaner fuel benefits public health

Posted November 16, 2012 by Melissa Lin Perrella in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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Today, a federal district court agreed to dismiss the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association’s (PMSA) legal attack against California’s requirement that large ocean-going vessels use cleaner fuel when doing business at California’s ports.  The court’s action ends a legal battle...continued

A Decade of Progress at Southern California Ports

Posted October 1, 2012 by Melissa Lin Perrella in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment

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This month marks the 10th anniversary of a landmark legal victory against the Port of Los Angeles.  In 2002, two environmental groups teamed up with San Pedro and Wilmington residents and forever changed how the Port of Los Angeles conducts...continued

NRDC Sues Railroads Over Diesel Pollution

Posted October 21, 2011 by Melissa Lin Perrella in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment

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This week, NRDC and two of our environmental justice allies—East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice and Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice—filed a lawsuit against BNSF and Union Pacific, the two largest freight moving railroad companies in the country. ...continued

Major Shipping Lines Commit To Slash Emissions

Posted April 14, 2011 by Melissa Lin Perrella in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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This week, two major shipping lines, Maersk and APL, announced that they will use low-sulfur fuel while in the Port of Singapore.  These efforts constitute an extension of Maersk and APL’s clean fuel programs in North America, and go above...continued

California's Clean Shipping Fuel Rules Win In Court Today

Posted March 28, 2011 by Melissa Lin Perrella in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recognized California’s severe air pollution problem and gave the state the green light to protect its citizens from ship-related exhaust.  In a unanimous decision, the Ninth Circuit ruled that California has the authority...continued

BNSF may have a new leader, Warren Buffet, but it's up to the same old railroad shenanigans

Posted October 8, 2010 by Melissa Lin Perrella in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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In an effort to push its projects through the environmental review process, BNSF has reached an all time low.  BNSF is working overtime to dispute the scientific link between air pollution from its operations and cancer.  And BNSF is urging...continued

We can create jobs and save lives at the same time in Kansas

Posted February 2, 2010 by Melissa Lin Perrella in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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Yesterday, I blogged about the lawsuit NRDC filed that challenges the permit the United States Army Corps issued to Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) to construct and operate a massive rail yard near Gardner, Kansas.  The Kansas City...continued

Could Gardner, Kansas be the Next Los Angeles?

Posted February 1, 2010 by Melissa Lin Perrella in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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Gardner might have a shot at becoming one of the smoggiest cities in the country if a mega rail yard goes forward as planned.  Today, NRDC joined local and state advocates in challenging a permit the US Army Corps of...continued

Six-Million Dollar Air Filtration Program Approved

Posted December 10, 2009 by Melissa Lin Perrella in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment

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An important agreement was reached today.  It’s an agreement that will protect the health of some of our most vulnerable populations.  It’s also an agreement that demonstrates that with hard work, community groups, environmentalists, and government agencies can come together...continued

Clean Truck Programs Celebrate One-Year Anniversary

Posted October 1, 2009 by Melissa Lin Perrella in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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Today marks the 1-year anniversary of the Clean Truck Programs at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.  These programs are measurably tackling the high rate of premature death, the heightened cancer and respiratory illness risk, and the 20...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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