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Environmental Defense Fund or EDF (formerly known as Environmental Defense) is a USmarker-based nonprofit environmental advocacy group. The group is known for its work on issues including global warming, ecosystem restoration, oceans, and human health. It is nonpartisan, and its work often advocates market-based solutions to environmental problems.


The founders of Environmental Defense Fund, including Art Cooley, George Woodwell and Charles Wurster, Dennis Puleston, Victor Yannacone and Robert Smolker discovered in the mid 1960's that the osprey and other large raptors were rapidly disappearing. Their research uncovered a link between the spraying of DDT to kill mosquitos and weakening egg shells of the large birds. They started Environmental Defense Fund to seek a ban on DDT in Suffolk Countymarker, Long Island, New York. They were successful. They then campaigned to ban DDT statewide and succeeded as well. They then took their efforts national.

The group is headquartered out of New York, with offices nationwide, and scientists and policy specialists working worldwide. It is directed by Fred Krupp who has served as its president since 1984.

The organization claims that it advocates using sound science, good economics and good law to find solutions that work.

Some environmentalists have protested that Environmental Defense Fund has "sold out" to big business through their "market based" initiatives.

Key Accomplishments

Key accomplishments of Environmental Defense Fund include:

  • 1967 - A small group of scientists forms the organization and sets out to win a nationwide ban on DDT (in 1972), which had been harming wildlife and was found in human mother's milk.
  • 1970 - Efforts bring all hunted whales onto the U.S. endangered species list.
  • 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.
  • 1990 - Designed Title IV of the Clean Air Act, which incorporates market-based methods to cut air pollution and acid rain., The measures reduce sulfur dioxide pollution faster than expected, and at a fraction of the cost.
  • 1995 - Designed the Safe Harbor planthat 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 - Helped create the 1,200-mile-long Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reservemarker.
  • 2004 - The first FedEx hybrid electric trucks hit the road, the result of a four-year partnership with FedEx to transform truck technology. The new vehicles cut smog-forming pollution by 65%, reduce soot by 96%—and went 57% farther on a gallon of fuel.
  • 2006 - Co-authored the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 with Natural Resources Defense Council.
  • 2007 - Co-founded United States Climate Action Partnership , 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).
  • 2009 - The Environmental Defense Fund, supporters of cap-and-trade plan, said National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) was “manufacturing” numbers. “NAM’s numbers are about as trustworthy as the forged letters sent by their allies to members of Congress,” said EDF spokesman Tony Kreindler.

Helped negotiate an environmental platform of Texas Pacific's buyout of TXU.

For contributions to the Endangered Species Act, including inventing the Safe Harbor concept

For initiating the recent campaign to remove the O'Shaughnessy Dammarker in Hetch Hetchy Valleymarker in Yosemite National Parkmarker

Regional offices more focused on local issues and policies include: Austin, TXmarker; Boulder, COmarker; San Francisco, CAmarker; Los Angeles, CAmarker; Sacramento, CAmarker; Washington, D.C.marker; Raleigh, North Carolinamarker; Boston, MAmarker


Critics on the American right have argued that not all of the EDF's policies have always been beneficial to either the environment or to humanity. Writer Christopher C. Horner, for example, has compared the spread of malaria after the DDT ban that EDF sponsored to a deliberate genocide, citing a quotation from a spokesman of EDF saying: "This is as sure a way to get rid of them as any."

Jon Berlau, author of the book Eco-Freaks, has also argued that EDF and later the Clinton administration, due to an "earth-worshiping mentality," interfered with operations of the US Army Corps of Engineers via judicial activism with the aid of Judge Charles Schwartz, resulting in the forestalling of levee reinforcement that led to Katrinagate shortly after Hurricane Katrina. This, Berlau argues, was the prime motivation behind "contempt for human life and safety, all for the sake of a few fish and mosquitoes.

Fisherman's News argues that the decision by the EDF to align itself with corporate bottom-trawling commercial interests in the Pacific Northwest is likely to damage smaller, local operators who have a vested interest in protecting local waters and limiting by-catch. Many fisherman fear that independent operators, including boats, fisheries, and ports will be forced out of business as the new EDF licensing structure gives a competitive advantage to larger, non-local operations.

See also

Environmental Defense websites


  • "Memories and More: Saving a species," The New York Times, December 30. 2001.


  1. "Memories and More: Saving a species," The New York Times, December 30. 2001.
  2. "Fostering Clean Air through Environmental Law," The New York Times, May 14, 1995
  3. "Environmental Defense Fund member Dr. C.F. Wurster testifies…", The New York Times, Page 11, Column 1 – January 14, 1969
  4. "Wood, Field and Stream: Environmental Defense Fund Warns Pollution From Pesticides Still Exists," The New York Times, February 3, 1970 II
  5. "DDT Ban Takes Effect" [EPA press release - December 31, 1972], site accessed 4/12/2007
  6. "DDT Regulatory History: A Brief Survey (to 1975)" [EPA report, July 1975], site accessed 4/12/2007
  7. Hoover's Company Records – Basic and In-depth Records: Hoover ID: 130102. April 10, 2007
  8. "The Nation: For the Environment, Compassion Fatigue," by Keith Schneider, The New York Times, November 6, 1994
  9. "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
  10. "DDT Ban Takes Effect" [EPA press release - December 31, 1972], site accessed 4/12/2007
  11. List of Marine Mammal Species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), web site accessed 4/12/2007:
  12. "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
  13. "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
  14. "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
  15. "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
  16. "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
  17. "Protecting America's Drinking Water: Our Responsibilities Under the Safe Drinking Water Act" by James L. Agee, EPA Journal, March 1975 [EPA web site: History section], web site accessed 4/13/2007
  18. Safe Drinking Water Act: Basic Information [EPA web site], site accessed 4/13/2007
  19. "Deadline set for Sept. 30 on airborne Lead Rules," by Bill Richards, The Washington Post, August 10, 1978
  20. "30 More Regulations Targeted for Review," by Felicity Barringer, The Washington Post, August 13, 1981
  21. "U.S. Closed Unit that Cited Health Effect of Lead in Gas" by Philip Shabecoff, The New York Times, July 26, 1982
  22. "Amid Budget Slashes, Priority Shifts; Perils of Lead Are Still Weighing Heavily," by Ruth Marcus, The Washington Post, July 29, 1982
  23. "Rules to Reduce the Lead in Gas Reported Ready," by Philip Shabecoff, The New York Times, August 1, 1982
  24. "EPA Scraps Plan To Ease Standards On Lead in Gasoline," by Sandra Sugawara, The Washington Post, August 2, 1982
  25. "Environmental Groups Fight Leaded Gas Plan," The New York Times, August 19, 1982
  26. "Environmentalists Laud New Rules on Lead in Gas," by William G. Blair, The New York Times, October 29, 1982
  27. "EPA Orders 90% of Lead Cut From Gasoline by Jan. 1," by Zack Nauth, The Los Angeles Times, March 5, 1985
  28. "EPA Sets New Limits on Lead in Gasoline" [EPA press release, March 4, 1985], web site accessed 4/13/2007
  29. "EPA Takes Final Step in Phaseout of Leaded Gasoline" [EPA press release – January 29, 1996], site accessed 4/16/2007
  30. "The Nation: Environmentalists Try To Move the Markets," by John Holusha, The New York Times, August 22, 1993
  31. "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
  32. "The Hole at the Bottom of the World," Editorial Desk, The New York Times, September 19, 1987
  33. "A Debate: Are Enough Data in Hand to Act Against Acid Rain?", Week in Review Desk, The New York Times, November 14, 1982
  34. "An Acid Test for Acid Rain," Editorial Desk, The New York Times, December 26, 1984
  35. "Consensus Is Seen To Curb Acid Rain," by Philip Sabecoff, The New York Times, October 18, 1985
  36. "Acid Rain Is Called Peril for Sea Life on Atlantic Coast," by Philip Sabecoff, The New York Times, April 25, 1988
  37. "The Nation: An Emergence of Political Will on Acid Rain," by Philip Sabecoff, The New York Times, February 19, 1989
  38. "Economic Watch: Sale of Air Pollution Permits Is Part of Bush Acid-Rain Plan," by Peter Passell, The New York Times, May 17, 1989
  39. "Under Bush's Plan, Clean Air Becomes Profitable," by Peter Passell, Newsday, November 29, 1989
  40. "EPA Administrator Reilly Hails Signing of New Clean Air Act" [EPA press release – November 15, 1990], site accessed 4/16/2007
  41. "Clean Air Act Ahead of Schedule: Market Forces Quicken Emissions Reductions," by Casey Bukro, Chicago Tribune, March 27, 1996
  42. "The Environment: Ignore all doomsayers on EPA laws," by Gregg Easterbrook, Los Angeles Times, December 1, 1996
  43. "Clean Air Sale," by Boyce Rensberger, The Washington Post, August 9, 1999
  44. "Report on Acid Rain Finds Good News and Bad News," by Carol Kaesuk Yoon, The New York Times, October 7, 1999
  45. "Hog Wild for Pollution Trading: Why environmental markets are becoming a very big deal," by Cait Murphy, Fortune, September 2, 2002
  46. "Are Storm Clouds Massing? These traders need to know," by Vikas Bajaj, The New York Times, May 17, 2006
  47. "Deal Gives Woodpeckers Golf Habitat," by Tom Kenworthy, The Washington Post, March 2, 1995.
  48. "Giving animals 'safe harbor,' op-ed by Robert Bonnie, economist at Environmental Defense Fund, The Washington Times, October 15, 1996.
  49. Big firms Join to Share Greenhouse-Gas Cuts," by Peter Behr, Washington Post, October 18, 2000.
  50. "7 Companies Agree to Cut Gas Emissions," by Andrew C. Revkin, The New York Times, October 18 2000
  51. "Officials Reach California Deal to Cut Emissions," by Felicity Barringer, The New York Times, August 31, 2006
  52. "California, Taking Big Gamble, Ties to Curb Greenhouse Gases," by Felicity Barringer, The New York Times, September 15, 2006
  53. "A Coalition for Firm Limit on Emissions," by Felicity Barringer, The New York Times, January 19, 2007.
  55. "TXU sale could cost $32 billion," by Janet Wilson, The Los Angeles Times, February 24, 2007.
  56. "Utility to Limit New Coal Plants in Big Buyout," by Felicity Barringer and Andrew Ross Sorkin, The New York Times, February 25, 2007.
  57. "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.
  58. "Energy Firm Accepts $45 Billion Takeover; Buyers Made Environmental Pledge," by Steven Mufson and David Cho, The Washington Post, February 26, 2007.
  59. "Texas Pacific and KKR to drop coal plant plans if deal succeeds," by Siobhan Kennedy and Tom Bawden, The Times (London), February 26, 2007.
  60. "A $45 Billion Buyout With Many Shades of Green," by Andrew Ross Sorkin, The New York Times, February 26, 2007.
  61. "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.
  62. "Buyout group would ax coal plants," by Felicity Barringer and Andrew Ross Sorkin, The International Herald Tribune, February 26, 2007.
  63. "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.
  64. "Environmentalists hail takeover plan for Texas utility," by John Donnelly, The Boston Globe, February 26, 2007.
  65. "$45 billion utility sale an environmental watershed," by Andrew Ross Sorkin, The International Herald Tribune, February 27, 2007.
  66. "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.
  67. "Environmental Group Behind the TXU Deal Hires a Banker," by Andrew Ross Sorkin and Felicity Barringer, The New York Times, March 8, 2007.
  68. "The Big Deal Goes Green," by Cathy Booth Thomas, Time magazine, March 12, 2007.
  69. "At a Glance," Investment Dealers' Digest, March 12, 2007.
  70. "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.
  71. "Marching With a Mouse," by Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, March 16, 2007.
  72. "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.
  73. The Eyes of Texas Are Still on TXU," by Heather Green, Business Week, March 19, 2007.
  74. "Dam Dispute Losses a Flood of Emotions," by John M. Glionna, The Los Angeles Times, August 11, 2007.
  75. "Groups to Oppose $1.6B San Francisco Water Deal Unless Alternatives Studies," by Rochelle Williams, The Bong Buyer, August 19, 2007.
  76. "An Effort to Undo an Old Reservoir," by Dean E. Murphy, The New York Times, October 15, 2002. "Bring Back Hetch Hetchy?" The New York Times, The New York Times, October 19, 2002.
  77. "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.
  78. "National Briefing West: California: A Call to Drain Yosemite Reservoir," by Dean E. Murphy, The New York Times, September 28, 2004.
  79. "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.
  80. "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.
  81. "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.
  82. "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.
  83. "Half a Hetchy study: State's review doesn't resolve debate," editorial, Sacramento Bee (California), July 20, 2006.
  84. "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.
  85. Horner, Christopher C., The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming: , Regnery Publishing, Inc. February 12, 2007
  86. AND THE BIG FOOL SAID "MARCH ON" Groundfish Ratz and the Fate of Coastal Fishing Communities

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