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Partners for change: protecting our natural environment from the grassroots to the courtroom.

CLF has a history of partnering with community groups and environmental organizations to tackle the complex environmental challenges facing New England, Our partnerships with those directly affected by environmental threats make CLF's cases stronger and more effective as we work together to achieve our joint vision of vibrant communities supported by a thriving, healthy environment; In this issue we take a moment to recognize some of our valued partners.


For more than 30 years, CLF's victories in court and on Capitol Hill have helped restore and protect the region's critical groundfish populations, including the signature species to the region--the Atlantic cod. Now, as our advocates seek to overhaul New England's failed fisheries management system with an approach that will ensure sustainable fish populations, successful fishing communities, and supplies of healthy fish for consumers, CLF has formed an important partnership with the local fishermen that share our vision for the future.

The Area Management Coalition is a group of fishermen, CLF, other conservation organizations, and scientists who seek more rigorous management of the struggling and depleted Gulf of Maine fisheries. Restoring these fish populations is critical to conserving and protecting New England's ocean legacy. If successful, this new approach will bring area-specific management tools that will protect local fish stocks and increase accountability for species protection. It will also increase economic opportunities and stewardship by fishermen through encouraging their greater participation in setting area-specific fishing rules.


The Fairmount/Indigo Line Coalition, an alliance of community development corporations, environmental organizations and community groups, has long called for transformation of the under-utilized Fairmount commuter rail line to provide better service for inner-city Boston residents. The coalition has advocated for a series of convenient stations with frequent and affordable service providing a direct trip to downtown Boston from the neighborhoods of Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan and Hyde Park.

In January 2007, the Coalition celebrated its first victory with the opening of the Uphams Corner station in Dorchester. Previously, commuters had to flag down the oncoming train in order to get a ride downtown from this station. Now, with a refurbished platform, residents of these neighborhoods will have more reliable and consistent transit service. By 2009, the Commonwealth has promised to open three additional stations--part of a legal settlement reached in a suit brought by CLF against recalcitrant state agencies.

The Fairmont/Indigo Line Coalition includes: Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corp, Greater Four Corners Action Coalition, Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corp, Project RIGHT, Mattapan Community Development Corporation, Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Southwest Boston CDC, Greater Bowdoin Geneva Neighborhood Association, and City Life/Vida Urbana and Conservation Law Foundation.


Safety Net, a grassroots community organization in Boston, is leading the fight against the proposed construction by Boston University of a high-risk bio-defense laboratory on the border of the South End and Roxbury neighborhoods. If built, the bio-defense lab will contain experiments on dangerous and exotic life-threatening disease agents for which there is no available treatment, such as Ebola, SARS and Anthrax.

In collaboration with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and two private pro-bono attorneys, the Conservation Law Foundation provides legal assistance to Safety Net and the STOP the Bio-Terror Lab Coalition. Both coalitions consist of individuals and groups from all over Boston as well as Cambridge, Brookline and Newton.

CLF's advocacy ranges from traditional litigation--such as a lawsuit challenging the environmental review of the project--to messaging strategy, influencing policy-makers and building broad-based awareness and support for Safety Net and STOP the Bio-Terror Lab Coalition's efforts. A key component of CLF's collaborative efforts is to communicate frequently with all our partners to ensure that the community activists remain the leaders of this environmental justice effort.


The Blackstone River Coalition (BRC) is a partnership of organizations and individuals working to restore the Blackstone River and to improve the health of the Blackstone River Watershed. For several years, CLF, with support from the Rhode Island Foundation, has been actively working with the BRC to make the Blackstone River fishable and swimmable by 2015. BRC, with help from CLF, successfully pushed the R.I. Department of Environmental Management to issue rules requiring major industrial and commercial facilities to control the polluted water that runs off their property into the river.

CLF also developed grassroots tools that can be used by local concerned citizens, acting through watershed councils, to reduce pollution in the Blackstone River. One of these tools is an innovative technique of using online satellite photography to identify major facilities that may be contributing stormwater pollution to the River. Once identified, citizens then fill out a form provided by CLF and submit it to the Department of Environmental Management for investigation. CLF Staff Attorney Jerry Elmer sits on the BRC's Board of Directors.


CLF worked closely with allies in the Vermont Wilderness Association (VWA) to pass the federal New England Wilderness Act of 2006, permanently protecting 42,000 acres of the Green Mountain National Forest's most pristine lands. The 15-member coalition is composed of state, regional and national conservation, recreation and sporting groups, which came together to give voice to Vermonters' desire for more federal wilderness protection. The VWA leveraged the broad range of experience and expertise possessed by its members. It identified the most appropriate areas for protection and rallied support for designating these areas during the forest planning process and in Congress, despite an attempt by Gov. Douglas to derail the plan.

Over a six-year period, the sustained energy of this coalition generated thousands of public comments, letters to the editors and other public displays of support for more wilderness, which ultimately helped to protect Vermont's forests from being despoiled by logging and motor-vehicles.


The Charles River and its watershed cover much of Greater Boston and eastern Massachusetts, The river winds through some of the most intensively developed areas in New England and currently faces a serious water degradation crisis. In response, the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) and CLF have collaborated to create a comprehensive, sustainable water policy that will ensure adequate water supply and healthy, clean waterways in the Greater Boston area and beyond.

CRWA is one of the country's first watershed protection organizations. Formed in 1965 in response to worsening conditions of the watershed. CRWA has been at the forefront of major clean-up and watershed protection

efforts on the river, working with legislators and other environmental groups in the region.

The combination of CRWA's scientific expertise and CLF's legal muscle has catalyzed fundamental changes in how the region restores and protects its water resources for future generations.
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Publication:Conservation Matters
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2007
Previous Article:Stopping the toxic drift: New England states fight to keep mercury out of our air and water.
Next Article:Holding environmental regulators accountable.

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