Midwest Environmental Advocates is a nonprofit environmental law center that works for healthy water, air, land and government for this generation and the next. We believe that every citizen has the potential to make a difference.

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Welcome Equal Justice Works Fellow Jacklyn Velasquez

Oct 12, 2017

Midwest Environmental Advocates is pleased to extend a warm welcome to Jacklyn Velasquez, a 2017 Vermont Law School graduate who will be serving the nonprofit environmental law center in a two-year fellowship through Equal Justice Works sponsored by Lynde Uihlein and an anonymous donor.

Originally from California, Velasquez is a member of the Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley. During law school, she was an Environmental Mission Scholar, active in her Native American Law Student Association chapter and returned to her tribe to complete two separate projects with the Big Pine Paiute Tribe Environmental Department. There she worked on funding requirements for climate change, community outreach, quality assurance projects as an Institute for Tribal Environmental Professional Intern and researched the adverse impacts of a proposed large industrial scale solar project as a Blair Hamilton Memorial Fund Fellow.

During her Equal Justice Works fellowship, Jacklyn will continue her tribal advocacy as she works to 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.

Failures in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ administration of the federal Clean Water Act were documented in a 2015 Petition for Corrective Action filed by Midwest Environmental Advocates, and in a 2016 report by the Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau. Degradation of public health, cultural practices and governmental sovereignty are all compromised by the DNR’s failure to comply with the Clean Water Act.

In October, Velasquez was honored by the California Indian Law Association with the 2017 California Bar Foundation 3L Diversity Bar Review Scholarship, the first of its kind. The scholarship was awarded to Velasquez for her dedication to bringing Tribal nations and environmental protection together through legal action. The California Bar Foundation matched funds for the scholarship and the award will help support Velasquez’s fellowship work in Wisconsin and bar exam in California.