Attorney Ela Orenstein Honored by Newtown Florist Club

Our Environmental Justice and Air Quality attorney, Ela Orenstein, was honored at the Newtown Florist Club’s 59th Anniversary banquet in Gainesville on October 10. The group was founded to provide flowers to bereaved families but evolved into an environmental and social justice organization when the members began to study the pattern of disease and death in their community that they have shown to be linked to the industrial facilities that surround the neighborhood. The organization, under the leadership of its renowned President, Faye Bush, has developed a “Toxic Tour” that educates visitors to the health impacts from local industrial pollution.

Orenstein, an honor graduate of Georgia State University with a law degree from the University of Oregon, has been with GreenLaw since 2005. While GreenLaw engages in environmental justice advocacy around the state, one of our longest and deepest relationships has been with the members of the Newtown community, a historic African-American residential neighborhood. In the last few years, GreenLaw was successful in stopping a nearby mill from blanketing the community with grain dust and in preventing diesel trucks from idling adjacent to residential properties.   GreenLaw has also brought in the University of Georgia’s Land Use Clinic as a partner to address zoning regulations that have led to repeated community decisions that have a negative impact on this neighborhood. 

You may send your congratulations to Ela at eorenstein@green-law.org and visit our website for more information on our Environmental Justice work. The Gainesville Times is currently running a series of articles, including photos and a video, about the environmental challenges in Newtown which you may reach by this link: http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/news/archive/26874/.