Lone Star Legal Aid empower Texans with updated Pollution Reporting Tool

Sandra AldiChief Marketing Officer
Lone Star Legal Aid empower Texans with updated Pollution Reporting Tool
Lone Star Legal Aid empower Texans with updated Pollution Reporting Tool

To coincide with Earth Day 2024, the Equitable Development Initiative’s Environmental Justice Team at Lone Star Legal Aid (LSLA) unveiled their newly updated Community Pollution Reporting Tool, which enables Texans in the Houston area to easily report pollution to authorities. The original version of the powerful online tool was developed by LSLA with students from Georgetown Law School in 2020; and now, on Earth Day 2024, the tool is updated to reflect legislative changes in Texas regarding pollution enforcement.

Tim legal aid avatar

With an absence of zoning in the fourth largest city in America, many residents of Houston and the surrounding area live near petrochemical companies, metal recyclers, concrete batch plants, waste facilities, and contaminated sites. The environmental impacts in these locations regularly go unreported despite their frequency and negative health effects on the communities. With the newly updated Community Pollution Reporting Tool, Texans in the Houston area have an easy way to take action to protect their neighborhoods against polluters.

Once a report is filed with the tool, the LSLA Environmental Justice Team will follow-up with the reporter and LSLA’s community partners in the area – and engage with local, state, and national authorities based on the report. So, all it takes is one local resident completing the form to start the process to environment justice.

Neota Logic has a long history of working with law students to create social justice applications for state and local governments and non-profit organizations. The updated Community Pollution Reporting Tool was developed by LSAL intern, Ari Fletcher-Bai of the University of Texas School of Law who leveraged the innovative work done on the original tool by Georgetown Law students in 2020. The reports received through the updated tool will help LSLA’s Environmental Justice Team and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) take action against pollution suspected polluters.

Through the web-based tool, individuals can report:

  • Air pollution
  • Odors
  • Water pollution
  • Drinking water issues
  • Land pollution
  • Land damage
  • Property damage
  • Oil or gas issues
  • Toxic spills
  • Concrete production issues
  • Health hazards

One of the tool updates is an AI-generated avatar that welcomes users and guides them on making a report, which can be done in a few minutes. The user can upload pictures and other media to help explain their concerns about the pollution.

The tool can be used anonymously; but to ensure that there is a point of contact for follow-up, LSLA encourages users to include their contact information. Each person making a report gets a copy of the report that includes information on how they can follow -up. on their report if desired.

The Community Pollution Reporting Tool can be accessed via the LSLA website here.

 

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