Idalmis Vaquero

Idalmis Vaquero


Idalmis is a third-year law student at UCLA School of Law, where she is enrolled in the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy. She began advocating on environmental justice issues in her community of East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights as a youth organizing intern at Communities for a Better Environment. Upon learning that Exide, a local lead acid battery processing plant in the neighboring city of Vernon, California was emitting toxic waste into her community, Idalmis engaged in research and advocacy efforts calling for the facility’s immediate closure. After years of concerted efforts by local activists, the facility was permanently closed as the result of a settlement agreement with the United States Department of Justice in 2015. Her experience with the Exide campaign informs her approach to her legal education, where she focuses on increasing community access to information about technical, legal, and regulatory processes within environmental justice communities. As such, she seeks to empower local community members with the tools and resources necessary to hold toxic industrial polluters legally accountable for the harms they have caused in disproportionately low-income communities of color. After her first year of law school, Idalmis returned to Communities for a Better Environment as a summer law clerk, where she led research on legal strategies to hold Exide and other industrial polluters financially responsible for their detrimental impacts on the health and environmental well-being of impacted communities.

As an active member of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice (EYCEJ), Idalmis is currently developing a community education program that will build capacity and train local advocates to support a just and equitable transition to renewable energy. At EYCEJ, she has led efforts to increase community engagement with the local land-use policymaking process, with the objective of reducing the environmental harm caused by industrial activity in overburdened communities in Los Angeles. Prior to law school, Idalmis was as a litigation assistant at the Earthjustice office in Los Angeles, where she supported client organizations in their advocacy efforts before the California Public Utilities Commission and assisted litigation on behalf of environmental justice communities. Idalmis graduated from Wellesley College with a B.A. in Environmental Studies.

Fellow at a Glance

Fellowship Year:
Academic Background:
Current Position:
JD Candidate
Energy & Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environmental Policy & Law

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