Regarding the Dec. 1 editorial “The wrong message,” on Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s attack on the University of Maryland’s Environmental Law Clinic:

We have fought since 2004 against efforts to build a concrete plant adjacent to the residential neighborhoods where we live. Without the dedicated work of the Environmental Law Clinic, one more small, moderate-income African American community would have fallen victim to a system concerned too little with the quality of the air we breathe.

The Cedar Heights Civic Association rallied the support of nearby communities, but we were still no match for the lawyers and the complexities of land-use law as practiced in Prince George’s County. By securing the free help of the law clinic, we were at least able to stave off for a while further damage to our health and communities caused by air, water and noise pollution. Although we are not sure of the final disposition, the legal help, which we could not otherwise afford, was a godsend.

In taking the law clinic to task for aiding an environmental advocacy group, Mr. O’Malley (D) gave fuel to those politicians who would like nothing better than to silence fighters for environmental justice. What we need are more environmental law clinics to help protect our communities as well as our air and water for future generations.

Thurman Jones, Capitol Heights

Madeleine Golde, Cheverly

The writers are, respectively, the president of the Cedar Heights Civic Association and co-chair of Progressive Cheverly.