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Local environmentalist’s longtime advocacy strikes cord with community

Los Angeles-based author Kirk Wallace Johnson chronicled Wilson’s efforts in his 2022 book “The Fishermen and the Dragon: Fear, Greed and the Fight for Justice on the Gulf Coast.”

Johnson said Wilson was the most important figure in his book.

“What she did against Formosa set a new model for citizen action in court,” Johnson said.

Tunnell said he believes Wilson’s character shows she is interested in change, not money.

“I was really surprised after the lawsuit,” Tunnell said. “She didn’t take a penny from the settlement. She still drives a truck made in the 1990s.”

In “The Fishermen and the Dragon,” Johnson wrote about how Wilson tried to persuade fisherman that local industries, and not refugees from Vietnam, were the root of their problems.