The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a United States-based 501(c)(3) non-profit international environmental advocacy group, with its headquarters in New York City and offices in Washington D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Delhi, Chicago, Bozeman, and Beijing. Founded in 1970, the NRDC has over 3 million members, with online activities nationwide, and a staff of about 700 lawyers, scientists and other policy experts.
The NRDC was founded in 1970. Its establishment was partially an outgrowth of the Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference v. Federal Power Commission, the Storm King case. The case centered on Con Ed's plan to build the world's largest hydroelectric facility at Storm King Mountain. The proposed facility would have pumped vast amounts of water from the Hudson River to a reservoir and released it through turbines to generate electricity at peak demand. A dozen concerned citizens organized the Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference in opposition to the project, citing its environmental impact, and the group, represented by Whitney North Seymour Jr., his law partner Stephen Duggan, and David Sive, sued the Federal Power Commission and successfully achieved a ruling that groups such as Scenic Hudson and other environmentalist groups had the standing to challenge the FPC's administrative rulings. Realizing that continued environmentalist litigation would require a nationally organized, professionalized group of lawyers and scientists, Duggan, Seymour, and Sive obtained funding from the Ford Foundation and joined forces with Gus Speth and three other recent Yale Law School graduates of the class of 1969: Richard Ayres, Edward Strohbehn Jr. and John Bryson. John H. Adams was the group's first staff member and Duggan its founding chairman; Seymour, Laurance Rockefeller, and others served as members of the board.
NRDC published onEarth, a quarterly magazine that dealt with environmental challenges, through 2016. It was founded in 1979 as The Amicus Journal. As Amicus, it won the George Polk Award in 1983 for special interest reporting.
At their website programs they specifically list include:
- Climate & Clean Energy
- Healthy People & Thriving Communities
- Science Center
The council's first president was John H. Adams, who served until 2006. He was replaced by Frances Beinecke, who served as president from 2006 to 2015. The third president was Rhea Suh, who served from 2015 to 2019.
In 2020, Gina McCarthy served as the CEO and president. She previously served as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency in the Obama administration.
At their web site NRDC states they have about 700 employees including scientists, lawyers, and policy advocates.
NRDC opposed the Water Rights Protection Act, a bill that would prevent federal agencies from requiring certain entities to relinquish their water rights to the United States in order to use public lands.
NRDC supported the EPS Service Parts Act of 2014 (H.R. 5057; 113th Congress), a bill that would exempt certain external power supplies from complying with standards set forth in a final rule published by the United States Department of Energy in February 2014.
Effect on administrative law
The NRDC has been involved in the following Supreme Court cases interpreting United States administrative law.