Santa Fe Living Treasures ‚Äď Elder Stories

Back to Treasures Index

Meiklejohn Douglas

Doug Meiklejohn

Honored October, 2019

Doug Meiklejohn

It was with a vision, sheer determination, and commitment, that in 1987 Doug Meiklejohn created the New Mexico Environmental Law Center.  The Law Center is a non-profit agency whose  mission is to protect New Mexico's natural environment and achieve environmental justice for New Mexico's communities through legal representation, policy advocacy, and public education. The Law Center works on  environmental matters that threaten quality of life  and health of individuals, minority and vulnerable communities who do not have the financial and political power to protect themselves from polluting industries.  Almost all of the legal services it provides are free.
  Since its beginning the Law Center has worked with communities on some of the most significant environmental issues in NM—massive water grabs, uranium mining in Navajo communities, oil and gas drilling. They have achieved local and state-level regulations governing water quality, air quality, oil and gas waste, and hard rock mining operations and cleanup.  Due to their efforts, stricter mining regulations and New Mexico Solid Waste Act which prevents incinerators from locating near people in New Mexico are in place.
The Law Center has become well known statewide and nationally. Doug is widely respected as its leader in the fight for Environmental Justice. Besides his laser sharp legal mind he has a  soft spoken humble attitude that makes him approachable. He may be light years ahead in legal or political knowledge, but Doug collaborates with everyone as a peer. His style has been described as being careful and respectful of his clients, his opposing counsel, of legislators, of non-profit government and industry allies or foes. Doug treated them all the same with the warm decency and graceful sense of purpose that comes so naturally to him. Legislators of both parties consider him an honest advocate and valuable expert on environmental matters. And he has a “wicked”sense of humor.
Friends and colleagues say this about Doug:
“He is a great mentor—through his words and actions, he has taught us to fight for the underdog, to stand tall in the face of adversity, and to always protect people and communities.”
*His selfless, golden rule ethic motivates him and sets a standard for public service.”
Without a doubt, Doug’s exceptional legal and diplomatic skills could have made him a rich man. We are grateful that instead of seeking personal fortune, Doug has chosen a path that enriches us all.

 

 

Story by Nancy Dahl

Photo © 2019 by Genevieve Russell