Yvette Arellano • Fenceline Watch
The Gulf Coast is not only the home of the many oil and gas companies, but also of plastic companies using petroleum feedstocks. Yvette (they/them) is the founder and director of Fenceline Watch, a Houston-based environmental justice organization dedicated to eradicating toxic multigenerational harm from oil, gas, and petrochemical facilities. Yvette formally served as a policy research and grassroots advocate with Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy. They are a board member for the Center for International Environmental Law, Backbone Campaign, Greenlatinos and Peak Plastic Foundation.
In 2015, Fenceline Watch led the campaign against H.R. 702, which opened the floodgates to U.S. crude oil exports. They were instrumental in the publications “Double Jeopardy in Houston, Air Toxics and Health in the Houston Community of Manchester”, and “Plastic and Health: The Hidden Cost of a Plastic Planet”. This report highlights the disproportionate toxic impact of the petrochemical industry on communities living on the fenceline. Throughout their work, Yvette emphasizes that access to clean water, air, land, and food is a fundamental human right best pursued through vigorous intersectional thinking and organizing. They understand the importance of a multipronged approach that embraces various advocacy methods, including policy development, litigation, research, direct actions, coalition building, and crisis response. Having experienced pollution health impacts and seeing their implications on the fenceline, is why they understand the importance of uplifting reproductive justice.