Melissa Lin Perrella

Chief Equity & Justice Officer

Melissa Lin Perrella sets the tone for how NRDC engages with and supports community partners. Having managed the Environmental Justice team and advocated internally and externally for NRDC’s work on behalf of communities for years, she currently leads NRDC’s Environment, Equity, and Justice Center to provide strategic leadership to the organization to integrate equity and justice into our external work and to advance community-driven solutions in partnership with frontline communities. Lin Perrella currently serves on the governance bodies of EJ networks and movement support initiatives, while also supporting countless NRDC committees to guide the organization’s strategic priorities—all with an equity lens.

After joining NRDC in 2004, Lin Perrella litigated on behalf of communities hardest hit by air pollution from the freight transportation system—using her expertise on the health effects of diesel emissions to advocate for reduced air pollution from ports and rail yards, the enforcement of the National Environmental Policy Act and the California Environmental Quality Act, and to preserve landmark clean air programs against claims of federal preemption. Lin Perrella is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and Georgetown University Law Center. She is based in Santa Monica.

NRDC in Action

A Lawyer That Sees Grassroots Relationship-Building as the Path Toward Social Change

NRDC’s first chief equity and justice officer, Melissa Lin Perrella, believes the way to strengthen advocacy work is to prioritize community partners who are closest to the problem—and often closest to the solution.


This website provides general information, not legal advice. If you need legal help, please consult a lawyer in your state. Melissa Lin Perrella does not hold herself out as a specialist in a particular area of law or law practice.