© Julie Dermansky
© Julie Dermansky

The ALERT Project is a project of Earth Island Institute, a nonprofit organization incorporated under the laws of California. EIII’s mission is to support environmental action projects and build the next generation of environmental leaders in order to achieve solutions to environmental crises threatening the survival of life on Earth.

EII acts as fiscal sponsor for the ALERT project.

We focus on some of the most common pollutants in our society – oil and oil-based chemicals – and communities most at-risk from daily exposures or exposures from industrial releases or spills.

By aiming to prevent the debilitating chronic diseases that plague those most at risk, our work contributes to building public awareness and passing stronger laws to protect everyone, everywhere, from toxic oil-chemical exposures.

©Julie Dermansky
©Julie Dermansky

Our Strategies


We strengthen environmental justice leadership by working collaboratively to reduce toxic exposures from oil-chemical activities in frontline communities. Our trainings bring accessible science on the health risks and symptoms of oil-chemical pollutants and empower people to prepare for and respond to oil spills in their community to reduce toxic exposures.

Science, Research & Public Education

We make science and medical research accessible to the people through our public talks, workshops, science-based educational materials, reports and media. We report on the latest oil-chemical explosions and spills to build public awareness of the health risks and ways to reduce those risks, and we debunk industry reports with hard facts and independent science.

Litigation with our Partners

We use litigation as a last resort to force policy change. Sometimes we have to call out government for its dereliction of duties and to ensure that laws are upheld, changed or enforced to reduce and protect people from oil-chemical exposures.

Health and Science: Oil-chemical Exposures and Chemical Illnesses

We design science-based programs with people

We work with people who have first-hand experience dealing with illnesses from exposures to oil-chemical pollutants, with academic training in health fields, and who live in petrochemical-producing regions or ones directly harmed by large oil spills or industrial disasters.

We make science accessible

Our programs train people to recognize symptoms of chemical exposures and communicate with their health provider for proper diagnosis and treatment of chemical illnesses.

Environmental Justice: Tribes and Frontline Communities

© Julie Dermansky

We respond to invites from Tribes and communities where people believe they have been sickened by oil-chemical activities or might become sickened by proposed oil-chemical activities.


Before oil and gas infrastructure development or inevitable disasters, we collaborate to strengthen campaigns and public comments to minimize health harm from dirty energy development and to advance clean energy solutions.


During oil spills or chemical plant disasters, we suggest ways that people might best protect themselves, their loved ones, workers, and their communities from exposures to the oil-chemical release and the disaster response, which can create its own suite of environmental and human health problems.


After disasters, we continue to work in and with communities to minimize long-term health harm and advocate science- and evidence-based solutions to better protect the health of workers and families.

The Law: Oil Spill Preparation and Response Planning

©Julie Dermansky 

Reforming oil spill policy with science

The Environmental Protection Agency’s National Contingency Plan - our nation’s national emergency response plan for oil disasters - is 26 years old, and it relies on outdated science that still supports and encourages the use of toxic spill response products.

Training and mobilizing local capacity

With so much missing, inaccurate, or downright dangerous in the official plan(s), we collaborate with our partners to advocate changing attitudes, behaviors and laws to update the national and local plans with current science and evidence-based standards.

If necessary, we litigate

When the government fails to update and enforce laws, we litigate to force the policy changes needed to protect human and environmental health. On January 30, 2020 we filed a lawsuit against the EPA to force them to finalize the NCP rule making.