Luke Cole | Legal advocate, 46
Luke Cole, 46, founder of a legal advocacy organization that fought on behalf of minority communities unfairly targeted by polluters, died in a traffic accident last Saturday in Uganda.
Mr. Cole was on sabbatical with his wife, Nancy Shelbey, who was severely injured in the crash, according to the Center for Race, Poverty, and the Environment.
In 1989, Mr. Cole cofounded the San Francisco-based center that helped create the environmental justice movement, which sought to blend environmentalism with civil rights.
Among his causes, he filed suit in 1993 on behalf of Spanish-speaking residents of rural Kettleman City, Calif., to block Chemical Waste Management Inc. from building the state's first toxic-waste incinerator there. The case successfully argued that the community had been excluded from the decision-making process by Kings County, which had failed to translate environmental-impact reports into Spanish.
Mr. Cole and the center were involved in significant cases around the country, but most were based in California's San Joaquin Valley, where he helped low-income residents fight air pollution and other problems caused by giant dairies. - AP