Dozens of diesel dump trucks and cement mixers barrel down Schurmier Road in south Houston, weaving to and from five concrete batch plants on the narrow, residential side street.
“That’s the house,” murmurs Bakeyah Nelson, the executive director of Air Alliance Houston, pointing from the passenger-seat window of a car as it passes by a small, white house with baby blue shutters. “That’s who I need to talk to.”
The house is near what likely will be the street’s sixth concrete batch plant – that is, unless Nelson has her way. Since becoming head of Air Alliance Houston in April, the 37-year-old Nelson has scoured the city for residents affected by the facilities.
Advocating for relief and regulations across the state, Nelson has emerged as an indispensable lifeline for residents concerned about air pollution from these plants.
For more than 25 years, Air Alliance Houston has served as a powerful check on local industries, aimed at reducing air pollution in the region while protecting public health.
But Nelson’s arrival coincides with a significant shift in strategy for one of Houston’s most influential environmental advocacy groups, necessitated in some part by the election of President Donald Trump.
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