The Natural Resource Defense Council
) is a New York City
international environmental advocacy group
, with offices in Washington, DC
, San Francisco
, Los Angeles
, and Beijing
. Founded in 1970, NRDC today has 1.2 million members and online activists nationwide, and a staff of more than 300 scientists
, and other specialists.
Worth magazine has named NRDC one of America's 100 best charities, and Charity Navigator has given NRDC three out of four stars.
The NRDC lobbies Congress and other public officials for a public policy that promotes conservation of the natural and built environment. The NRDC works against urban sprawl, pollution, and habitat destruction, and promotes actions to mitigate global warming and increase the use of renewable energy. It also sometimes files suit in federal court against corporations and government agencies for violations of the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act. Other operations carried out by the NRDC include public education and sponsorship of scientific studies.
In 2001, NRDC launched the BioGems Initiative to mobilize concerned individuals in defense of exceptional and imperiled ecosystems. The initiative matches NRDC's legal and institutional expertise with the work of citizen activists.
It has issued a report on the health effects arising from the September 11, 2001 attacks.
NRDC was also one of the only major national environmental organizations to become and stay involved with community activists on the ground in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
The NRDC has also published a number of studies on nuclear weapon stockpiles around the world, both as monographs and as individual studies in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
In December 2006, Green Day and NRDC jointly launched a website to raise awareness on the U.S.'s petroleum dependence.. The NRDC takes the position that new nuclear power plants are not a solution for America's energy needs, or for addressing global warming.
NRDC runs a number of programs pushing for environmental stewardship:
- The Air/Energy Program focuses on clean air, global warming, transportation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and electric-industry restructuring.
- The Health Program works on issues involving drinking water, chemical harm to the environment, and other environmental health threats with the goal of reducing the amount of toxins released into the environment.
- The International Program works worldwide on rainforests, biodiversity, habitat preservation, oceans, marine life, nuclear weapons and global warming, often in conjunction with other programs.
- The Land Program works to protect the national forests, parks, and other public lands, to improve management of private forest lands, and to reduce consumption of wood products.
- The Nuclear Program analyzes developments on a variety of nuclear weapon issues.
- The Urban Program focuses on environmental problems in urban centers and surrounding areas. Issues include air and water quality, garbage and recycling, transportation, sprawl, and environmental justice.
- The Water and Oceans Program works to protect the nation's water quality, fish populations, wetlands and oceans. It also operates regional initiatives such as the Everglades, San Francisco Bay, the San Joaquin River, the Channel Islands of California, and the New York/New Jersey Harbor-Bight.
- The Latino Outreach Program or La Onda Verde de NRDC works to inform and involve Spanish-speaking Latinos in the full array of environmental issues on which NRDC works. http://www.nrdc.org/laondaverde/
- In July 2008, the NRDC and Robert Kennedy Jr. launched a direct mail campaign to encourage citizens to voice opposition to Shell Oil's exploration for oil off the Alaska coast. Some recipients of the mail piece immediately realized the connection between the Kennedy family and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and promptly noted the conflict of interest--seeing faux environmentalism used as a basis for Citgo attacking Shell.
- Deron Lovaas is the vehicles campaign director.
Effect on administrative law
The NRDC has been involved in some of the most important Supreme Court cases interpreting United States administrative law. Ironically, most of these decisions came out against the NRDC. See, for example:
- Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 435 U.S. 519 (1978), which held that courts could not impose additional procedural requirements on administrative agencies beyond that required by the agency's organic statute or the Administrative Procedure Act.
- Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984), which gave administrative agencies broad discretion to interpret statute to make policy changes if Congressional intent was unclear. Chevron is now the most-cited case in American case law, even more so than all the citations to famous decisions such as Marbury v. Madison, Brown v. Board of Education, and Roe v. Wade combined.