Environmental Defense Fund
|United States, Latin America, Caribbean, Asia, international|
|Method||Science, economic incentives, partnerships, nonpartisan policy|
|$146million USD (2013)|
|Slogan||"Finding the ways that work"|
Environmental Defense Fund or EDF (formerly known as Environmental Defense) is a United States–based nonprofit environmental advocacy group. The group is known for its work on issues including global warming, ecosystem restoration, oceans, and human health, and advocates using sound science, economics and law to find environmental solutions that work. It is nonpartisan, and its work often advocates market-based solutions to environmental problems.
The group's headquarters are in New York City, with offices nationwide, and scientists and policy specialists working worldwide. Regional offices more focused on local issues and policies include Austin, TX; Boulder, CO; San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Sacramento, CA; Washington, D.C.; Raleigh, North Carolina; Boston, MA.
Fred Krupp has served as its president since 1984. In 2011, Krupp was named by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu to a group of experts who will make recommendations to improve the safety and environmental performance of natural gas hydraulic fracturing from shale formations.
In 1991, The Economist called EDF "America's most economically literate green campaigners." The organization was ranked first among environmental groups in a 2007 Financial Times global study of 850 business-nonprofit partnerships, and received a four star-rating from Charity Navigator, the independent charity evaluator.
The organization's founders, including Art Cooley, George Woodwell and Charles Wurster, Dennis Puleston, Victor Yannacone and Robert Smolker discovered in the mid-1960s that the osprey and other large raptors were rapidly disappearing. Their research uncovered a link between the spraying of DDT to kill mosquitos and thinning egg shells of large birds. Their research was most likely based on the book the Silent Spring by Rachel Carson about the dangers of DDT and the effects that it had on birds, published in 1962. She is noted as the scientist who inspired the environmental movement. She passed away in 1964. The founders of EDF successfully sought a ban on DDT in Suffolk County, Long Island, New York. They then succeeded in banning DDT statewide. They then took their efforts nationally.
In looking back at passage of the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, top EPA officials responsible for implementing the law recall that EDF published a statistical study that supported a link between organic contaminants and cancer rates in the City of New Orleans, a study that received a tremendous amount of media attention and certainly contributed to the enactment of the law.
Areas of work
- Climate and energy - EDF aims to reduce the pollution and curtail global warming, with strategies including overhauling U.S. energy systems, protecting the United States Environmental Protection Agency's limits on pollution, training new climate/energy leaders, and slowing deforestation in Brazil and the Amazon rainforest.
- Oceans - The organization works to protect marine ecosystems by creating sustainable fisheries, promoting the use of catch shares, and preserving fragile habitats like coral reefs. Geographical focus of Oceans programs include Belize, Cuba, the Chesapeake Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf of California, and the South Atlantic.
- Health programs focus on cutting air pollution from utilities and transportation systems, reforming U.S. toxic chemicals policy, and working with corporations like Walmart to make safer products.
- Ecosystems - EDF works to promote ecosystem-friendly policy, helping landowners benefit from healthier land, water and wildlife. They work to restore river flows and native river bank habitat, broker agreements with landowners to protect endangered species, and partner with farmers and ranchers to improve habitat and water quality.
- Corporate partnerships - EDF has a long history of partnerships with corporations, fund managers, landowners, farmers, fishermen, and other groups. The organization receives no funding directly from its corporate partners, however it does receive millions in funding from organizations with strong corporate ties, such as the Walton Family Foundation.
- Environmental economics - The organization promotes the use of markets and incentives to help solve environmental problems. Examples of this approach at work include catch shares the cap-and-trade plan written into the Clean Air Act (United States).
Key accomplishments of Environmental Defense Fund include:
- 1967 - A group of scientists forms the organization and sets out to ban DDT (succeeding in 1972). (See DDT ban.)
- 1970 - Efforts to ban whale hunting.
- 1974 - An Environmental Defense Fund study of Mississippi River water helps pass the Safe Drinking Water Act, establishing the first comprehensive health standards for water nationwide.
- 1985 - Helped convince federal regulators to phase out lead from gasoline, leading to a dramatic decline in childhood lead poisoning.
- 1986 - Pushed McDonalds to institute biodegradable food-packaging containers.
- 1987 - Played a key role in the treaty to phase out the use of CFCs, chemicals that many researchers believe damage the Earth's ozone layer, although CFC-22 was continued to be allowed, renamed H-CFC-22 to avoid banning.
- 1990 - Designed Title IV of the Clean Air Act, which incorporates market-based methods to cut air pollution and acid rain. The measures reduced sulfur dioxide pollution faster than expected, and at a fraction of the cost.
- 1990 - Improved McDonald's packaging, reducing solid waste in a groundbreaking corporate partnership, which came after dozens of other groups had protested McDonald's use of styrofoam packaging and the corporation was looking for a way to "save face" by claiming EDF's advocacy was the reason for the shift. The Citizens Clearinghouse on Hazardous Waste, founded by Lois Gibbs, helped coordinate the protests of McDonald's.
- 1993 - EDF was one of seven foundation-funded environmental groups to endorse the NAFTA Treaty.
- 1995 - Designed the Safe Harbor plan that gives landowners new incentives to help endangered species on their property.
- 2000 - Seven of the world's largest corporations join Environmental Defense in a partnership to address global warming, setting firm targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
- 2001, 2004, 2008 - Won measures resulting in cleaner vehicle exhaust from trucks, ships and other vehicles
- 2002 - Initiated the recent campaign to remove the O'Shaughnessy Dam in Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park
- 2004 - Culmination of 4-year partnership with FedEx to develop and deploy hybrid electric trucks. The new vehicles cut smog-forming pollution by 65%, reduce soot by 96%, and move 57% farther on a gallon of fuel.
- 2006 - Co-authored the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 with Natural Resources Defense Council.
- 2006 - Led adoption of catch shares, a science-based method to manage fishing and control fish population decline.
- 2007 - Co-founded United States Climate Action Partnership (US-CAP), a coalition of major corporations and environmental groups supporting action on global warming, including a market-based carbon emissions cap. Corporate participants include GE, DuPont and Duke Energy; non-profit groups involved are Pew Center on Global Climate Change, Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Resources Institute, a co-founder.
- 2007 - Helped negotiate an environmental codicil as part of Texas Pacific's buyout of TXU.
- 2008-2011 - Founded and developed the Climate Corps program, which matches organizations with MBA and MPA students to uncover energy savings.
- 2011 - Successful campaign to clean up highly-polluting heating oil in New York City.
- 2011 - Built coalition to defeat Proposition 23, an industry-backed ballot initiative that would have blocked California's Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32).
EDF has drawn criticism for its ties to large corporations including McDonald's, FedEx, Walmart, and the Texas energy company TXU, with which the organization has negotiated to reduce emissions and develop more environmentally friendly business practices. EDF's philosophy is that it is willing to talk with big business and try new approaches in order to get environmental results.
A 2009 op-ed piece by the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman's Association in the trade journal Fishermen's News argues that EDF's approach to fisheries policy in the Pacific Northwest is likely to damage smaller, local operators who have an interest in protecting fisheries and limiting by-catch. Many fisherman fear that the approach gives a competitive advantage to larger, non-local operations, jeopardizing independent operators, including boats, fisheries, and ports.
EDF argues that the way we manage our fisheries needs to change if we want to protect fishermen, fish, and coastal communities. In a report suggesting economic waste in some of the world's commercial fisheries,EDF advocates an approach: catch shares, which sets a scientifically based limit on the total amount of fish that can be caught; that amount is then divided among individuals or groups, who can sell their shares or lease them to fishermen. EDF suggests that concern about consolidation or corporate ownership of fisheries is unwarranted.
EDF has been accused of funding and disseminating studies that utilize questionable science and economics in their promotion of catch share fishery management. Also, they have employed substantial political lobbying to promote fisheries policies that tend to force out smaller fishing businesses in favor of consolidated, corporate owned fleets, while denying any adverse effects these programs have on fishing families and communities.
EDF has held meetings with private investors where their West Coast vice president, David Festa, promoted the purchase of fishing rights as an investment that can yield 400% profits, and "options value" despite its claims that these rights are designed to provide financial incentives for the fishermen themselves. Multiple non-profit organizations have expressed repeated frustrations with EDF and its promotion of these management policies. Recent studies show that despite EDF's claims, catch shares do not end overfishing and typically result in no long term environmental gains.
The Environmental Defense Fund supports the Rigs-to-Reefs program in the Gulf of Mexico, in which former offshore oil production platforms are converted to permanent artificial reefs. The EDF sees the program as a way to preserve the existing reef habitat of the oil platforms.
EDF sees natural gas as a way to quickly replace coal, with the idea that gas in time will be replaced by renewable energy. The organization presses for stricter environmental controls on gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing, without banning them. In November 2013, after negotiations with the oil industry, EDF representatives joined spokesmen for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Noble Energy, and Encana, to endorse Colorado governor John Hickenlooper's proposed tighter regulation of emissions of volatile organic compounds by oil and gas production. EDF has funded studies jointly with the petroleum industry on the environmental effects of natural gas production. The policy has been criticized by some environmentalists. EDF counsel and blogger Mark Brownstein answered:
- "Demand for natural gas is not going away, and neither is hydraulic fracturing. We must be clear-eyed about this, and fight to protect public health and the environment from unacceptable impacts. We must also work hard to put policies in place that ensure that natural gas serves as an enabler of renewable power generation, not an impediment to it. We fear that those who oppose all natural gas production everywhere are, in effect, making it harder for the U.S. economy to wean itself from dirty coal."
- Global warming
- Earth Science
- Natural environment
- Natural landscape
- Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency
- About EDF
- EDF Finances
- EDF People
- Hoover's Company Records – Basic and In-depth Records: Hoover ID: 130102. April 10, 2007
- "Secretary Chu Tasks Environmental, Industry and State Leaders to Recommend Best Practices for Safe, Responsible Development of America's Onshore Natural Gas Resources," Energy.gov, May 5, 2011. http://energy.gov/articles/secretary-chu-tasks-environmental-industry-and-state-leaders-recommend-best-practices-safe
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- Charity Navigator
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- EPA Alumni Association: Senior EPA officials discuss early implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, Video, Transcript (see p4).
- EDF's Climate Programs
- EDF's Oceans Programs
- EDF's Oceans work by region
- EDF's Health Programs
- EDF's Ecosystems Programs
- EDF's Approach: Partnerships
- EDF's Corporate Donations Policy
- "Walton Family Foundation".
- EDF's Approach: Markets
- EDF's Approach: Markets: Acid Rain
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- "An Acid Test for Acid Rain," Editorial Desk, The New York Times, December 26, 1984
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- "The Nation: An Emergence of Political Will on Acid Rain," by Philip Sabecoff, The New York Times, February 19, 1989
- "Economic Watch: Sale of Air Pollution Permits Is Part of Bush Acid-Rain Plan," by Peter Passell, The New York Times, May 17, 1989
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- "S. McVay, chmn Com on Whales, Environmental Defense Fund, hails NY Times for backing efforts to conserve whales…", The New York Times, Page 34, Column 5 – September 1, 1970
- "Environmental Defense Fund analysis of Mississippi river drinking water says…", The New York Times, Page 29, Column 1, by Harold M. Schmeck, Jr. – November 8, 1974
- "EPA orders immediate nationwide study of chem contaminants in drinking water…", The New York Times, Page 32, Column 2, by Harold M. Schmeck, Jr. – November 9, 1974
- "EPA and Environmental Defense Fund studies revealing carcinogenic chem in drinking water… ", The New York Times, Page 32, Column 2, by Harold M. Schmeck, Jr. – November 17, 1974
- "HR passes Safe Drinking Water Act authorizing EPA to set minimum Fed standards for drinking water … ", The New York Times, Page 21, Column 1, by Richard D. Lyons. – November 20, 1974
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- "Deadline set for Sept. 30 on airborne Lead Rules," by Bill Richards, The Washington Post, August 10, 1978
- "30 More Regulations Targeted for Review," by Felicity Barringer, The Washington Post, August 13, 1981
- "U.S. Closed Unit that Cited Health Effect of Lead in Gas" by Philip Shabecoff, The New York Times, July 26, 1982
- "Amid Budget Slashes, Priority Shifts; Perils of Lead Are Still Weighing Heavily," by Ruth Marcus, The Washington Post, July 29, 1982
- "Rules to Reduce the Lead in Gas Reported Ready," by Philip Shabecoff, The New York Times, August 1, 1982
- "EPA Scraps Plan To Ease Standards On Lead in Gasoline," by Sandra Sugawara, The Washington Post, August 2, 1982
- "Environmental Groups Fight Leaded Gas Plan," The New York Times, August 19, 1982
- "Environmentalists Laud New Rules on Lead in Gas," by William G. Blair, The New York Times, October 29, 1982
- "EPA Orders 90% of Lead Cut From Gasoline by Jan. 1," by Zack Nauth, The Los Angeles Times, March 5, 1985
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- "EPA Takes Final Step in Phaseout of Leaded Gasoline" [EPA press release – January 29, 1996], site accessed 4/16/2007 http://www.epa.gov/history/topics/lead/02.htm
- "The Nation: Environmentalists Try To Move the Markets," by John Holusha, The New York Times, August 22, 1993
- "Business Forum: Saving the Earth's Ozone Layer; Industry Needs Incentives Not To Pollute" by Daniel J. Dudek, The New York Times, November 16, 1986
- "The Hole at the Bottom of the World," Editorial Desk, The New York Times, September 19, 1987
- "Report on Acid Rain Finds Good News and Bad News," by Carol Kaesuk Yoon, The New York Times, October 7, 1999
- "Hog Wild for Pollution Trading: Why environmental markets are becoming a very big deal," by Cait Murphy, Fortune, September 2, 2002
- "Are Storm Clouds Massing? These traders need to know," by Vikas Bajaj, The New York Times, May 17, 2006
- "Packaging and Public Image: McDonald's Fills a Big Order," New York Times, November 2, 1990.
- McDonald's: The first corporate partnership
- "Deal Gives Woodpeckers Golf Habitat," by Tom Kenworthy, The Washington Post, March 2, 1995.
- "Giving animals 'safe harbor,' op-ed by Robert Bonnie, economist at Environmental Defense Fund, The Washington Times, October 15, 1996.
- Big firms Join to Share Greenhouse-Gas Cuts," by Peter Behr, Washington Post, October 18, 2000.
- "7 Companies Agree to Cut Gas Emissions," by Andrew C. Revkin, The New York Times, October 18, 2000
- EDF: Cleaning up dirty diesel exhaust
- "Dam Dispute Losses a Flood of Emotions," by John M. Glionna, The Los Angeles Times, August 11, 2007.
- "Groups to Oppose $1.6B San Francisco Water Deal Unless Alternatives Studies," by Rochelle Williams, The Bong Buyer, August 19, 2007.
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- "S.F. to Fight Reservoir Rent Hike: U.S. wants $8 million a year for the Hetch Hetchy facility in Yosemite National Park, up from the $30,000 the city has paid for decades," by Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times, February 4, 2004.
- "National Briefing West: California: A Call to Drain Yosemite Reservoir," by Dean E. Murphy, The New York Times, September 28, 2004.
- "Removal of Yosemite Dam to Be Studied; A state agency will consider restoration of the Hetch Hetchy Valley," by Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times, November 12, 2004.
- "Parting the waters of what once was: Revisiting the ceaseless dream of the Hetch Hetchy Valley moves us closer to the lost sanctuaries of the world," by Thomas Curwen, Los Angeles Times, April 5, 2005.
- "Is this Dam Worth a Dam? There's a movement afoot to pull down old or ecologically unsound dams, starting with this one," by J. Madeleine Nash, Time magazine, July 18, 2007.
- "Conservation campaign is growing to remove national park's dam and return valley to its natural state: Call to restore Yosemite's hidden wonders," by Dan Glaister, The Guardian (London), October 31, 2005.
- "Half a Hetchy study: State's review doesn't resolve debate," editorial, Sacramento Bee (California), July 20, 2006.
- "Hetch Hetchy plan feasible report says: But cost to restore the valley could be much higher than estimated," by Matt Weiser, Sacramento Bee (California), July 20, 2006.
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- "Report: Guaranteed fish shares may prevent overfishing," USA Today, Updated 9/18/2008.
- EDF: New management approach brings hope to ailing fisheries
- Costello, Christopher; Steven D. Gaines; John Lynham (19 September 2008). "Can Catch Shares Prevent Fisheries Collapse?". Science. 321 (5896): 1678–1681. doi:10.1126/science.1159478. PMID 18801999.
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- "A Coalition for Firm Limit on Emissions," by Felicity Barringer, The New York Times, January 19, 2007.
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- "TXU sale could cost $32 billion," by Janet Wilson, The Los Angeles Times, February 24, 2007.
- "Utility to Limit New Coal Plants in Big Buyout," by Felicity Barringer and Andrew Ross Sorkin, The New York Times, February 25, 2007.
- "TXU bidder seeing green: Buyout group promises only 3 new coal plants, is likely to cut prices," by Elizabeth Souder, Dallas Morning News, February 25, 2007.
- "Energy Firm Accepts $45 Billion Takeover; Buyers Made Environmental Pledge," by Steven Mufson and David Cho, The Washington Post, February 26, 2007.
- "Texas Pacific and KKR to drop coal plant plans if deal succeeds," by Siobhan Kennedy and Tom Bawden, The Times (London), February 26, 2007.
- "A $45 Billion Buyout With Many Shades of Green," by Andrew Ross Sorkin, The New York Times, February 26, 2007.
- "Utility sale is boon for green activists: The largest such buyout ever, of Texas' TXU giant, includes benefits for consumers too," by Janet Wilson and Peter Pae, Los Angeles Times, February 26, 2007.
- "Buyout group would ax coal plants," by Felicity Barringer and Andrew Ross Sorkin, The International Herald Tribune, February 26, 2007.
- "TXU to take buyout $45 billion deal would kill plans for 8 of 11 coal plants; price cuts also predicted," by Elizabeth Souder, the Dallas Morning News, February 26, 2007.
- "Environmentalists hail takeover plan for Texas utility," by John Donnelly, The Boston Globe, February 26, 2007.
- "$45 billion utility sale an environmental watershed," by Andrew Ross Sorkin, The International Herald Tribune, February 27, 2007.
- "Power failure came before TXU buyout: CEO has focused on shareholders but failed to connect with others," by Elizabeth Souder, Sudeep Reddy and Randy Lee Loftis, The Dallas Morning News, March 4, 2007.
- "Environmental Group Behind the TXU Deal Hires a Banker," by Andrew Ross Sorkin and Felicity Barringer, The New York Times, March 8, 2007.
- "The Big Deal Goes Green," by Cathy Booth Thomas, Time magazine, March 12, 2007.
- "At a Glance," Investment Dealers' Digest, March 12, 2007.
- "Hugging the Tree-Huggers: Why so many companies are suddenly linking up with eco groups. Hint: Smart business," by John Carey, with Michael Arndt, Business Week, March 12, 2007.
- "Marching With a Mouse," by Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, March 16, 2007.
- "Climate shift: some environmental groups are sitting down with big business. But others say the fate of the planet is non-negotiable," by Daniels Brook, The Boston Globe, March 18, 2007.
- The Eyes of Texas Are Still on TXU," by Heather Green, Business Week, March 19, 2007.
- EDF: Climate Corps saving cash and Earth
- "Climate Corps interns help businesses save energy," San Francisco Chronicle, March 16, 2011
- "MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES MORE THAN $100 MILLION IN FINANCING AND NEW RESOURCES TO HELP BUILDINGS CONVERT TO CLEAN HEATING FUELS AND IMPROVE NEW YORK CITY AIR QUALITY," NYC.gov, June 13, 2012
- "New York City Finances Switch to Cleaner Heating Oils," The New York Times "Green" blog, June 13, 2012
- NYC Clean Heat
- "Voters Reject 2-Sided Assault on Climate Law," The New York Times, November 3, 2010
- "CorpWatch: Greenwashing Walmart".
- "The Nation: For the Environment, Compassion Fatigue," by Keith Schneider, The New York Times, November 6, 1994
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- "System turns US fishing rights into commodity, squeezes small fishermen".
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- "Milken Institute Global Conference" (PDF).
- "A cautionary Tale".
- "Distorting Catch Share Criticism".
- "Catch Shares Ideology is a One-Way Street in the Wrong Direction".
- Essington, Timothy (2012). "Catch shares, fisheries, and ecological stewardship: a comparative analysis of resource responses to a rights-based policy instrument". Seattle School of Aquatic Fisheries Science.
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- Mark Brownstein, Why EDF is working on natural gas, 10 Sept. 2012
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- Environmental Defense Fund
- Fightglobalwarming.com (In partnership with the Ad Council)
- KeepOceansClean.org created by Animax Entertainment