On November 17th, the Con Alma Health Foundation will recognize Douglas Meiklejohn, Executive Director and Founder of the Law Center, as one of its two “Heroes of Health” in 2016.
Doug is humbled by the award, noting that, “This award is special because it recognizes that the health and wellbeing of all New Mexicans depend on equal access to clean air, water and land.”
Under his direction, NMELC has advocated for communities and the environment on hundreds of issues, demonstrating through its many successes that communities can band together to fight polluters and greatly reduce the health threats they pose.
If you’ve been a fan of the Law Center for 29 years, you’ll know that we started out working to protect public lands. That focus changed in 1993, when Doug, founder of the Law Center, worked on the Nu-Mex medical waste incinerator. Belching thick, black smoke near an elementary school, the incinerator was a menace to the health of those children and all who lived in its shadow. As a result of Doug’s work, the facility was shuttered and a new rule was enacted keeping incinerators out of our communities…and protecting public health from environmental threats became central to our work.
He has led landmark industry changes in uranium mining clean-up, exposure to medical waste, landfill locations, oil and gas ordinances, aquifer and river water protections, the cleanup of legacy radioactive waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory, greenhouse gases and highway expansions, to name just a few.
Some of the victories came in court, while others came from simply ensuring his clients’ the voice they deserved in administrative hearings.
His leadership has led to policy changes, the passage of legislation and the empowerment of local communities to effectively protect their communities’ health from air, land and water pollution. His work to advance public health was also acknowledged by the New Mexico Public Health Association with its Jonathan Mann Award in 2002 for “inspiration and leadership on environmental health issues in New Mexico.”