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Jacklyn Velasquez

2017, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Jacklyn Velasquez

Jacklyn Velasquez

Name of Host Organization: Midwest Environmental Advocates
City, State: Madison, Wisconsin
Issue area: Environmental Justice
Sponsors: Anonymous

The Project

Engage Tribes to hold Wisconsin accountable to Clean Water Act by legally and technically assisting a collaboration that assesses and addresses Tribes’ risks from the State’s regulatory failures.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
Failures in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (WDNR) administration of the federal CWA were documented in a Petition for Corrective Action filed by Midwest Environmental Advocates (MEA), and in a report by the Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau. Degradation of public health, cultural practices and governmental sovereignty are all compromised by WDNR failure to comply with the CWA.
The Right Person For This Project

Jacklyn is the right person for the project because:
• Her former position as Environmental Technician with the Big Pine Paiute Tribe Environmental Department exposed her to underrepresented Tribal perspectives and the environmental degradation of her own traditional lands from water extraction.
• She has expertise evaluating legal history and traditional knowledge.
• Though her legal education expanded her interests into broader Tribal needs for representation, her focus remains on water.

Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship

In the first six months, Jacklyn will:
• Research the foundational relationships established between involved parties. Focusing on whether and how the various Tribes are affected by water quality degradation.
• Network with local Tribes and their various departments to start building rapport. The purpose is to better understand varying Tribal needs, capacities and water quality impacts.
• Work with the Tribes to identify any potential consultation deficiencies between State and/or Federal agencies and Tribal communities.
• Establish advisory committee and utilize Tribal meetings and corresponding research to finalize members that will help guide this project.