Chase Porter

  • Hosted by Lone Star Legal Aid
  • Sponsored by Texas Access to Justice Foundation
  • Service location Houston, Texas
  • Law school The University of Texas School of Law
  • Issue area Environmental Justice
  • Fellowship class year 2020
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Chase fought for environmental justice and equitable community development in marginalized industrial communities along the Texas Gulf Coast as a Fellow with Lone Star Legal Aid.

Low-income and minority communities along Texas’ Gulf Coast have long carried the burdens of industrial growth in and around their communities—poor health caused by pollution, threats to public safety, and a lack of meaningful investment in the communities themselves. Community members have long lacked meaningful access to the legal and regulatory system which is meant to address those challenges. Chase sought to address this through sustained community lawyering in several of the most overburdened communities along the coast.

Chase was inspired to dig into the issues facing underdeveloped coastal communities when participating in a law school clinic. When he visited a port community to educate local leaders on their opportunities to advocate for themselves, he witnessed firsthand the daily challenges they face. Chase previously served as an Equal Justice Works Fellow in the Disaster Recovery Legal Corps.

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship, Chase:

  • Obtained significant reductions in air pollution and community development benefits in environmental justice communities through filing comments, filing Civil Rights Complaints, and representation in administrative law proceedings
  • Filed multiple sets of comments with state and federal agencies to help improve access to public participation processes and services provided to non-English speakers
  • Advocated for environmental justice communities by filing comments with agencies regarding the development of infrastructure and air pollution monitoring networks
  • Developed and piloted a multi-day educational workshop series covering environmental and economic justice topics for community members in coastal communities and gave 15 additional presentations reaching over 3,800 individuals
  • Represented vulnerable communities by participating in three coalitions of non-profits and community groups aimed at furthering environmental justice in communities affected by activities of seaports and other nearby industry
  • Connected community members with researchers aimed at studying the relationships between air pollution and childhood asthma in environmental justice communities

Next Steps

Chase will continue to further environmental justice and equitable community development as a staff attorney with Lone Star Legal Aid. He will use community lawyering skills to build new relationships and advocate on behalf of vulnerable communities in Lone Star Legal Aid’s service area.

Despite being illuminated by the bright lights of the 24 hours a day operations of their industrial neighbors, adjacent communities often do not receive nearly the attention and respect they deserve.

Chase Porter /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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