About NRDC

The industrial Midwest is a slumbering giant. With massive bounties of water, sun, wind, soil and labor resources, no place else has so much to gain from a clean energy revolution. The rebirth of manufacturing and steel in a shift to renewable energy would bring back long dormant economies. And the shift to newer, cleaner technologies would have an incredible impact in the fight to clean the air of small and major cities as well as the battle to clean up the Great Lakes and the rest of the region's abundant water resources. That is why NRDC opened an office in Chicago where the staff has hit the ground running since opening in 2007.

If the states of Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin were a country unto themselves, that nation would be the fourth largest carbon emitter on the planet. Clearly, getting energy right in the U.S. starts with getting it right in the industrial Midwest. In just a few short years, we have:

  • Beat dirty coal projects in Illinois, Ohio and Michigan with wins to stop construction of a massive new plant and a coal to liquid refinery, preventing a beach head for one of the worst energy sources being discussed in America.
  • Working with states to create policies that embrace energy efficiency and new clean technologies. NRDC helped to push forward renewable energy portfolios in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri and other states that will help to transform the energy sectors throughout the region by promoting wind, solar and other clean energy technologies.
  • Battling tar sands oil expansion. NRDC’s fight against the dirtiest oil on the planet has its trenches in the Midwest where we have won suits to clean up dangerous refinery pollution and pointed out new dangers in the aging pipeline system that supplies them.

But getting climate and energy right also means smarter use of our water resources. NRDC staff have taken a lead role in the fight to protect the Great Lakes, promoting new solutions to the Asian carp threat in Chicago and going to court to battle the shipping industry over the practice of dumping ballast water, which has introduced many of the 180+ invasive species that are wrecking the ecosystem that represents 1/5 of the world's fresh water.

While the Great Lakes are beloved in the region, NRDC’s Midwest team is also working to clean up one of the most ignored and abused waterways in the nation, too: the Chicago River. NRDC led the fight that forced regional water regulators to stop dumping undisinfected sewage back into the river, giving the world class city a first-world waterway that can be an amenity to parts of the city far from the comforts of Lake Michigan.


Recent Articles and Reports

NRDC's Chicago Office
Sustainable design successfully links NRDC's Midwest office to the natural and urban environments, bolstering a sense of environmental stewardship between colleagues, and between the organization and its members, activists and donors.

Protecting a Shared Future
The Great Lakes form the largest surface freshwater system on the Earth, containing nearly 20 percent of the world's and 96 percent of the United States’ total supply of fresh surface water. More than 40 million people depend on the Great Lakes for drinking water, fishing, recreation, and commerce, and more than 1.5 million U.S. jobs are directly connected to the region. Although the waters of the Great Lakes are vast, they are not inexhaustible.

Missing Protection
Our nation's rivers, streams, and small bodies of water are in danger because of recent interpretations of the Clean Water Act that suggest that many waters historically protected from pollution can now be polluted or destroyed without a permitting process to limit the environmental impact of discharges into the waters.

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last revised 11/1/2011

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