Our Victories

Since the 1970s, NRDC has secured numerous environmental victories for the greater New York region. Among other successes, we've helped to safeguard New York City's irreplaceable drinking water supply; boost energy-efficiency and reduce the state's contribution to climate change; and advance recycling programs and clean up regional air pollution. Here's a look at our courtroom, policy, and legislative victories over the decades:


  • 2010 NRDC and its partners successfully stop a proposal to build a massive casino on the banks of the Neversink River in the Catskills.
  • 2010 NRDC and its partners negotiate a commitment from New York City to clean up Jamaica Bay by significantly reducing nitrogen pollution, improving water quality monitoring, and implementing marsh restoration activities.
  • 2010 NRDC and Mothers on the Move settle a public and private nuisance lawsuit, securing New York City promises to curb noxious odors from sewage facilities in a South Bronx neighborhood.
  • 2010 NRDC, EPA, and regional transportation officials announce a new truck replacement program for NY/NJ port marine terminals, marking an important step towards improving neighborhood air quality.
  • 2010 NRDC leads an environmental coalition in advancing the New York City Council's passage of 11 laws to reform and enhance its recycling program.
  • 2010 NRDC helps draft and secure New York State's legislative enactment of the nation's most progressive electronics recycling law, which directs manufacturers to take back and recycle used electronics from consumers.


  • 2008 NRDC helps block construction in the Catskill mountains of multiple, Las Vegas-style casino complexes, which would have overburdened the region with severe traffic congestion, pollution, and sprawl.
  • 2008 NRDC helps push Sustainable Stormwater Management legislation through the New York City Council, thereby encouraging green design and promising reductions in sewage overflows into local rivers and bays.
  • 2007 NRDC successfully sues the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to adopt strict environmental safety measures for dredging deeper shipping channels through a highly contaminated Superfund site that lies beneath the New York/New Jersey harbor.
  • 2006 NRDC helps New York become the second state in the nation with an official government council to protect imperiled ocean and coastal resources through the implementation of an ecosystem-based management approach.
  • 2005 NRDC leads the victorious public campaign to secure entry by New York, New Jersey, and other northeastern states into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) -- perhaps the most significant non-federal program for obtaining reductions in power plant emissions.
  • 2005 NRDC helps pave the way for the introduction of New York City's first yellow hybrid taxi program.
  • 2005 NRDC and WE ACT for Environmental Justice successfully sues the EPA to protect children from exposure to chemical rat poisons, which were heavily used in New York City public housing, schools, and city parks.
  • 2004 NRDC leads a successful campaign pushing New York to adopt a renewable portfolio standard, requiring 25 percent of the state's electricity to come from renewable resources by 2013.
  • 2004 NRDC heads up a successful public campaign to restore full residential recycling in New York City, reversing earlier cutbacks.
  • 2003 NRDC serves on litigation team that reached a favorable settlement compelling New York City to provide proper medical treatment to homeless children with asthma.
  • 2002 NRDC successfully sues New York Power Authority to shut down the Charles Poletti Power Project in Astoria, Queens, following years of protests from residents over localized environmental problems.
  • 2002 NRDC and our environmental partners, after 25 years of advocacy, secure a federal EPA order for General Electric to cleanup toxic PCBs that it dumped in Hudson River, marking historic turning point for New York water quality.
  • 2001 NRDC helps block the development of a shopping mall in New Jersey's Meadowlands, preserving important habitat for herons, egrets, and fish.
  • 2000 NRDC helps pave the way for environmentally sound construction across New York by ushering a green building tax credit through the Legislature.
  • 2000 NRDC's long-running Dump Dirty Diesel campaign prompts New York officials to initiate a clean fuel program for New York City's entire diesel bus fleet.


  • 1998 NRDC leads a successful effort in New Jersey to include $1 billion for efficiency and renewable investments as part of electric utility restructuring.
  • 1997 NRDC helps secure passage of New York's solar net-metering laws, which allows residents to receive credit for renewable energy generated in their homes.
  • 1994 NRDC concludes a successful multi-year campaign after New York State drops plans to build a massive ecologically disruptive hydro-electric project in James Bay, Quebec.
  • 1993 NRDC and coalition partners win an agreement from New York City to begin preserving thousands of acres of land surrounding the City's drinking water reservoirs.
  • 1993 NRDC and the WE ACT for Environmental Justice settle a lawsuit against city, securing enforceable commitments for air quality improvements at the North River sewage treatment plant and obtaining a $1.1 million fund for West Harlem community benefits.
  • 1993 NRDC wins more than a million dollars for environmental health programs through a settlement in Albany neighborhoods contaminated by lead from a state-operated garbage incinerator.
  • 1992 NRDC helps stop New York City's practice of dumping processed sewage sludge in the ocean, eliminating the practice in the United States altogether.
  • 1990 NRDC helps New York City avoid a federal order to filter its Catskill and Delaware reservoirs -- staving off a $6 billion filtration expenditure and helping initiate a comprehensive watershed protection program for downstate water supply.


  • 1989 NRDC leads the public campaign to enact New York City's landmark mandatory recycling law.
  • 1989 NRDC opens its new cutting-edge energy efficient office in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood.
  • 1987 NRDC victories in federal clean air lawsuits result in the implementation of ozone smog reduction measures at thousands of gasoline stations and other industrial pollution sources in New York and New Jersey.
  • 1983 NRDC wins a lawsuit directing that excess U.S. Navy property be transferred to the U.S. National Park Service for inclusion in the Gateway National Recreation Area.
  • 1983 NRDC helps block Con Edison plans to burn coal in New York City power plants.
  • 1982 NRDC spearheads a successful national public campaign to block the Reagan Administration from weakening or rescinding lead in a gas phase-down program.
  • 1981 NRDC successfully advocates in Albany for passage of the $5.6 billion transit capital improvement program.
  • 1980 NRDC protects Storm King Mountain and Hudson River ecology by brokering a settlement of a 17-year dispute over Hudson River power plants.


  • 1978 NRDC co-authors a comprehensive blueprint for rebuilding New York's transit system, which was eventually adopted by the City.
  • 1976 NRDC wins a court victory directing New York City to implement transportation controls and transit improvements designed to reduce unhealthy levels of metropolitan air pollution.
  • 1973 NRDC launches New York and national legal and political actions to remove toxic lead from gasoline and reduce other childhood lead exposures, ultimately cutting airborne lead emissions nationwide by hundreds of thousands of tons a year.
  • 1970 NRDC opens its first office in New York City.

NY Blogs on Switchboard

Gov. Cuomo Launches Solar Schools Program for NY
posted by Nathanael Greene, 1/8/14
Northeast Governors move forward with LCFS MOU
posted by Nathanael Greene, 12/30/09
11 States move to develop a low-carbon fuel standard
posted by Nathanael Greene, 1/8/09
Solar wins in NY, sparks controversy in CA
posted by Nathanael Greene, 6/20/08
Bioheat is like all biofuels: we got to get it right
posted by Nathanael Greene, 5/20/08

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