Lewis Gordon, Executive Director
Lewis Gordon is a Harvard graduate with nearly forty years of experience as a lawyer. Following a federal court clerkship, Mr. Gordon entered private practice in Alaska in 1982. He successfully defended environmentalists and environmental organizations from intimidation lawsuits, and represented them in environmental litigation as well. From 1989-94, while the managing partner of the Anchorage firm of Ashburn & Mason, Mr. Gordon served on the nine member plaintiffs’ steering committee that managed the massive litigation arising from the grounding of the Exxon Valdez. In 2003, Mr. Gordon was invited to be a Wallace Stegner Center Fellow for a year at the law school of the University of Utah, as well as an adjunct professor of law (Environment and Human Rights). He founded EDLC that same year. He has been invited to every continent to speak on human rights and corporate accountability issues before legal groups, NGOs, and foundations.
Fernanda Venzon, Staff Attorney
Fernanda Venzon joined EDLC as a full-time staff attorney in 2011, after two years of working with EDLC as an independent consultant. Her role includes helping local lawyers developing legal strategies, drafting amicus curiae briefs, and conducting research on the applicable national and international frameworks in a range of cases in Latin America in which local communities have been affected by natural resource development projects. Ms. Venzon holds advanced degrees from Brazil and the United Kingdom in international law, environmental management, and development management, and has a wealth of experience in the human rights and environment area. Prior to joining EDLC, she served as the Executive Director of the Sierra Madre Alliance in Mexico, where she formulated land claims under international human rights frameworks for Tarahumara indigenous communities. She also worked in the Brazilian Amazon, providing legal advice and education on environmental law to traditional peoples living in protected areas.
Brant McGee received his law degree from Boston University Law School in 1977, having earlier graduated from Lewis and Clark College and served in Vietnam as a combat medic. He was a felony trial lawyer for five years for the Alaska Public Defender Agency before entering private practice as a civil litigator. In 1984, Mr. McGee was appointed the first director of Alaska’s new Office of Public Advocacy. Since his retirement in 2004, he has studied international human rights law in the LL.M. program at Columbia Law School; served in Afghanistan as an advisor to the public defender office established by the International Legal Foundation; and worked for EDLC and other organizations on issues of community participation in environmental decision-making and corporate responsibility.
EDLC Programs in Action
Mexico's Oil Company Sued for Pollution
Communities from Tabasco and Veracruz are suing PEMEX and the Mexican government in federal court over oil contamination and spills. The lawsuit requests protection of human rights harmed by pollution, and seeks restoration of polluted areas.
EDLC is supporting the communities and their lawyers, and enlisted a pro bono remediation scientist who submitted an expert report to the court. In March 2017, the court found a violation of the Constitutional right to a healthy environment, and ordered the government to assess the harms and take remedial action.
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