Press Release | October 20, 2023

National air expert joins SELC to ramp up fight against air pollution in the South 

Keri Powell to lead Air Program tackling polluting facilities and disproportionate environmental harm

ATLANTA — The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) today announced that Keri Powell, a nationally recognized Clean Air Act expert, has joined the organization as a senior attorney and leader of SELC’s Air Program, supported by the Carol Remmer Angle Endowment Fund for Community Health.  

“We’re investing new energy and resources to stop toxic air pollution, especially those that impact fence line communities and disproportionately harm communities of color and lower-wealth Southerners,” said SELC President and Executive Director DJ Gerken. “We’re delighted to have Keri leading this work, given her track record as one of the nation’s leading litigators against big polluters.” 

As one of the country’s preeminent Clean Air Act experts, Keri will supercharge SELC’s litigation against biomass facilities and other industrial polluters contributing to toxic air pollution across the South.  

“I’ve devoted my career to ensuring our laws protect everyone from the harmful impacts of air pollution, and I see no greater opportunity to do this than alongside the incredible environmental advocates at SELC,” said Powell, “I’m thrilled to join SELC at this critical moment where we can ensure everyone in this region breathes clean air and is free from toxic pollution.”  

SELC has worked alongside community partners to support major recent wins against polluting an ethylene oxide facility in South Memphis, coke plants in Birmingham, and  biomass pollution in Georgia.  

Powell previously led an air quality litigation project for the New York Public Interest Research Group, specialized in Clean Air Act litigation with Earthjustice, and served as the Senior Clean Air Act Counseling Attorney for EPA Region 4. After leaving EPA, she founded Powell Environmental Law where Powell developed and led a biomass project for Environmental Integrity Project, assisted communities in challenging defective Clean Air Act permits, litigated Clean Air Act cases in federal courts, and advised foundations and environmental organizations on advocacy strategies. She holds a B.A. in Earth Science from Trinity University, and a J.D. from New York University School of Law. 

Powell and her colleague Patrick Anderson, who worked alongside Powell for over six years at Powell Environmental Law, join as part of SELC’s Air program, which is supported by the Carol Remmer Angle Endowment Fund for Community Health. Remmer Angle is a pioneer for public health and a valued longtime supporter of SELC. A pediatrician, nephrologist, and toxicologist, Remmer Angle is known as one of the nation’s leading researchers on lead poisoning. Her research in Omaha, NE, on the effects of lead exposures, particularly on children, led to her national advocacy for stricter lead standards that was part of the 1970 passage of the Clean Air Act. Remmer Angle’s research on lead poisoning was a key factor to national efforts to remove lead from gasoline. 

“I’m honored to be a part of a program supported by Dr. Remmer Angle that continues her tradition of advocating for those in our communities most harmed by industrial pollution,” said Powell. 

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Press Contacts

Terah Boyd

Communications Manager (AL/GA)

Phone: (404) 521-9900
Email: [email protected]