We rely on wilderness not only to inspire and enjoy but also to protect our watersheds, clean the air we breathe, and provide a home for the diverse species that enrich our world.

NRDC protects wildlife and unspoiled lands from the threats of industrial development, commercial exploitation, pollution, and climate change. We partner with ranchers, farmers, energy companies, and the government to promote solutions that help wild predators coexist with livestock and people. We push for international agreements that shield polar bears, elephants, rhinos, and other animals from being killed for trade. And we fight to keep reckless oil and gas drilling out of wild areas, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Boreal Forest.

Our Priorities

Wildlife Conservation

99 percent of plants and animals protected under the Endangered Species Act still exist today.

Wildlife Trade

Every year, tens of thousands of animals are killed for trade of their parts.

Wilderness Protection

Only 11 percent of land under the Bureau of Land Management is protected from drilling.

What's at Stake

What you can do

Tell Interior Secretary Zinke to defend our national monuments

Be a good neighbor to struggling pollinators by turning your backyard into a welcome pit stop

Stop Trump and Pruitt’s escalated anti-environment assault

Voices
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks: Something for Everyone
For archaeologist Angel Peña, this national monument is more than just home to cultural and geological artifacts—it’s where memories and history are made.

The following is a transcript of the video:

Angel Peña, archaeologist and Rio Bravo regional director, Conservation Lands Foundation, Las Cruces, New Mexico: One of my first memories of being in the Organ Mountains is with my daughter, who's now nine years old. The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks is so special for me and her, my little girl, because we're learning at the same time, together.

When you're trying to look for something to do with your family that doesn't cost a lot of money, going outside to play is not only really cheap, but it's where memories are made.

The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is made up of four different parts. The Organ Mountains create the backdrop for Las Cruces, and they're in just about every painting or picture you'll see of our little town.

The Las Uvas and the Robledos section of the monument is really where the dense cultural resources are, where all the archeology is. Potrillo lava flows, which, you know, contains some geological formation, these rocks are just a picture in time, frozen.

And then you have the Doña Anas, which is set aside and used primarily by our off-road community. There's a little bit of everything for everyone.

Our most current threat to the national monument is by this administration and their blatant attack on our traditions and our heritage. They're trying to take that away from us right now to release these lands from the public to be sold off at the highest bidder.

Our national monument is important to all Americans because it really is like a history book, right, that you can walk in and touch and experience and learn from.

Our community is at stake. The stories that make southern New Mexicans so proud would be lost.

Tell Interior Secretary Zinke to stop the assault on our national monuments

onEarth Story

The latest executive order takes aim at iconic public places that store carbon, protect ecosystems, and keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Voices

As America’s national monuments come under attack by President Trump, Los Angeleno Robert Garcia shares the story of his personal connection to San Gabriel.

onEarth Story

The interior secretary’s proposal to hand over park management to private companies has riled up some very unhappy campers.

onEarth Story

Why are there so many names for legally protected waterways? And what do they all mean?

Victory

After years of work by NRDC and its partners, about 5,000 square miles of ocean—with massive canyons, majestic underwater mountains, and more than 1,000 species—have received permanent protection.

Explainer

Now deemed national monuments, these natural beauties will be protected for generations.

Action Figure

Half a century later, a parent of the environmental justice movement is still standing up for low-income communities in the Southwest.

Policy Primer

This month’s National Park Service centennial presents an opportunity to create a parks system that is reflective of—and accessible to—all Americans.

Personal Action

These iconic American vacation spots will soon become unrecognizable—or worse, vanish. Pack your bags, quick!

Voices

As our national monuments come under attack by Trump, park conservationist Audrey Peterman reminds us that protecting our monuments is also about protecting the legacy of America’s people.

Voices

Former BLM employee Hillerie Patton describes this Nevada landscape as the essence of “This Land is Our Land”—and how preserving wildlife, archaeological sites, and recreation is about quality of life.

Voices

The Trump administration’s review of national monuments threatens America’s culture and natural beauty.

The Budget Is an Oil-Filled Trojan Horse
Franz Matzner

Congress has officially launched the next phase in the ongoing budget battle, with the House holding a mark-up of budget legislation that, if ultimately successful, will lay out the framework for the federal budget going forward. 

Normal enough, right? But there is a hitch that could pervert this seemingly straightforward fiscal exercise into yet another Trojan horse for unpopular, policy giveaways that have no chance to pass on their own.   

Here’s how it works. First, the “budget reconciliation” process comes with special procedures that allow the budget committee to include instructions to the rest of Congress to change laws in order to meet whatever budgeting “targets” the budget committee puts forward. Second, these provisions all just get bundled together for a single majority-only vote so the individuals never get independent up-or-down votes. That means, used improperly, the final budget bill is basically a rider magnet on steroids.  

So far, Republican Leadership has made it all too clear that they intend to utilize the budget process to jam through some of the most unpopular provisions they haven’t been able to pass through standard rules.

Credit: Alaska Wilderness League

And no surprise, their primary target this round is to pry open the nation’s remaining intact public lands and oceans for expanded drilling. They’re starting by trying to turn the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge into a moonscape of drill rigs and crisscrossing pipelines and expose our unspoiled coasts to the oil spills and pollution that are part and parcel of offshore drilling. 

Such an attempt doesn’t add up. It flies in the face of growing, bipartisan public opposition, overlooks economic harm to existing local economies and cherished ways of life, all while ignoring the decades of existing oil reserves the fossil fuel has stockpiled and the cost to taxpayers of continuing to subsidize the high-cost, high-risk plunder of our shared natural resources.  

Let’s start with the basics. The reconciliation process is supposed to be about finding new ways to generate revenue. But that doesn’t wash when it comes to the sell-off of more public lands. For starters, the administration recently slashed the royalty rate for an upcoming offshore lease sale to its statutory minimum—despite study after study showing that existing rates are already far below market rates. Second, even as they spin a yarn about fossil fuel revenue balancing the budget, certain Senators and Members of Congress propose bills to transfer even these bargain basement royalties to their home states. Third, the debate over expanded oil and gas drilling notoriously ignores just how dependent new drilling is on a web of taxpayer subsidies. For example, recent studies show that expanded offshore drilling relies on large scale hand-outs to fund the high-cost, high risk prospect of sinking drill rigs into ocean waters. Finally, there is never any mention of the costs to the federal government and states when its time clean up after the inevitable oil spills, water pollution, and land degradation that comes with drilling and mining.

Credit: Alaska Wilderness League

The broad unpopularity of expanding fossil fuel extraction on public lands should give Republican Leadership a second reason to reconsider hijacking the budget. Our public parks, monuments, national forests, wildlands and vibrant oceans, set aside for all to enjoy, are a unique part of our collective heritage. These lands and waters belong solely to the American people and preserving them has been one of America’s great innovations. That is why poll after poll and public comment period after comment period reveal the same thing: Americans want to preserve and protect our remaining intact natural heritage, not sell it off to international oil conglomerates. For example, this survey found that “Nearly two-thirds of voters who voted for President-elect Donald Trump…oppose the idea of privatizing or selling off some areas of America’s national forests and public lands.” More specifically, multiple polls reveal a growing public preference for protection and investment in clean energy over fossil fuel extraction on federal lands.

Third, we do need more energy jobs today, but we need them in clean renewables that cut pollution while generating good-paying, domestic jobs. Investing in more public lands drilling today is barreling the U.S. into the past. Our financial resources and industry attention should be focused on strengthening the economy, growing jobs and remaining a global energy leader. And that means investing in clean solar and wind energy—the fastest growing and cheapest sources of new energy generation—a increased energy efficiency, battery storage and other modern technologies to power our nation. That’s the smart path to delivering hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs that can’t be shipped overseas.

Finally, sacrificing our natural heritage has nothing to do with “energy dominance”; We don’t need this energy. Risking our public forests and wildlands, coastal environments, and local economies so we can ship the oil overseas may boost oil conglomerate profits, but it won’t make us more secure.  Instead of “fueling America,” it would benefit other nations and set us back in winning the global clean energy technology race. Moreover, the fossil fuel industry has stockpiled decades’ worth of oil reserves, more than enough to transition to an urgently needed carbon-free future. Bottom line, there are far less risky energy sources to tap--that don’t come at the expense of our natural landscapes and continued taxpayer subsidies for some of the wealthiest corporations on Earth. 

For all these reasons, any “budget reconciliation” instruction designed to turn more federal lands and oceans over to private oil companies is nothing more than another gift to the oil industry at the expense of communities, healthy lands and oceans, and taxpayer pockets. 

Republican Leadership should think twice not only about converting the budget process into a giant hand-out to private fossil fuel companies, but also using it as a delivery mechanism for unpopular measures that run counter to the public interest

House and Senate Hit Endangered Species Act in One-Two Punch
Nora Apter
Legislative hearings in the House and Senate consider bills that would, among other things, block Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Minnesota.

Dan Behm

Today Congress is holding not just one, but two legislative hearings on six separate bills that would undermine the Endangered Species Act and the species that benefit from its protections.

Those who are familiar with the Endangered Species Act might recall that since its enactment in 1973, the law has saved more than 99 percent of listed species from extinction. Unfortunately, the Act’s opponents are quick to attack the very qualities that have been critical to its enduring success: science-based decision-making and citizen engagement. The bills under consideration in today’s House and Senate hearings are no exception.

For instance, two of the bills in committee today (H.R. 424 and S. 1514) would block federal Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the Great Lakes states and Wyoming, and prohibit future judicial review of these legislative wolf delistings. In a one-two punch, these bills would not only ignore the Endangered Species Act’s science-based decision-making process, but would also weaken the rule of law and citizens’ access to the courts more broadly.

Sadly, these bills are simply variations on a theme: H.R. 2603 would remove Endangered Species Act protections for all non-native species within the United States, without any scientific consideration. Another bill (H.R. 1274) would subvert the Endangered Species Act’s science-based listing process entirely, by allowing any state, local or tribal information—regardless of whether it is based in science—to be used to determine whether a species is deserving of protection.

In the same vein, H.R. 717 would literally put a price on species conservation by allowing cost to be a determining factor in whether our nation’s most imperiled species deserve protection. And that’s not all: the same bill would also weaken citizen engagement with the law by subverting the citizen petition process for listing species. By impeding upon citizens’ ability to obtain counsel and challenge illegal government actions under the law, H.R. 3131 would similarly undercut citizen participation and enforcement of the Endangered Species Act.

By prioritizing politics over science and undercutting citizens’ ability to help enforce the law, the bills under consideration in today’s House and Senate hearings threaten to undermine the effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act as a whole. As we brace for the devastating global impacts of a sixth mass extinction, Members of Congress must oppose these and other legislative efforts to weaken this cornerstone conservation law, so that it can continue protecting our nation’s remaining plants, fish and wildlife.

Voices
San Gabriel Mountains: A Symbol of Environmental Justice
As America’s national monuments come under attack by President Trump, Los Angeleno Robert Garcia shares the story of his personal connection to San Gabriel.

This is a transcript of the video, produced as a partnership between NRDC and Next100.

Robert Garcia, civil rights attorney and founding director of the City Project, Los Angeles: Going up the San Gabriel Mountains is a great thing to do for all the people of L.A. County, especially for underserved people. Once you're up there on that trail going up into the mountains, you totally forget that you're in one of the two largest cities in the nation.

My connection to the San Gabriel Mountains goes back to when I was growing up in L.A. as a child. I am an immigrant. I came to the United States when I was four years old from Guatemala with my family, and I remember going to the San Gabriels with my mother, father, and sister.

What is special about the San Gabriel Mountains is that it's so close to L.A. Within an hour's drive of most of Los Angeles County, you can hike up into wilderness areas along the San Gabriel River and see wild animals.

We went there recently with a group of friends. We saw nobody else. There were bighorn sheep—came right up to the river.

It's not just about conservation, clean air, clean water, clean land, habitat protection. It's about the people.

Dozens of cities and diverse groups—from fishermen's groups to hiking groups to civil rights and social justice groups—have all banded together to support the creation of the national monument.

President Obama: Today I'm using my executive authority to designate the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument. (audience cheering)

Garcia: President Obama specifically said there are not enough parks in L.A. County, especially for children of color and low-income children. The smiles on children's faces who have never seen these places before, that's priceless. I see myself when I was a little boy, and it's such a joy to be able to bring that to more children.

And for this administration to step in, in the last few months and say, We're starting over, we're revisiting this, we're reexamining this, is wrong.

It's wrong on environmental grounds, it's wrong on social justice grounds, it's wrong because it violates the will of the people, for no good reason.

Tell Interior Secretary Zinke to stop the assault on our national monuments

onEarth Story

The latest executive order takes aim at iconic public places that store carbon, protect ecosystems, and keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Victory

After years of work by NRDC and its partners, about 5,000 square miles of ocean—with massive canyons, majestic underwater mountains, and more than 1,000 species—have received permanent protection.

Explainer

From undersea coral canyons to deep northern woods, these seven places deserve to be part of the president’s legacy.

onEarth Story

The interior secretary’s proposal to hand over park management to private companies has riled up some very unhappy campers.

onEarth Story

As the interior secretary ponders the fates of 27 national monuments, he seems to be hearing some voices more acutely than others.

Policy Primer

This month’s National Park Service centennial presents an opportunity to create a parks system that is reflective of—and accessible to—all Americans.

Personal Action

President Trump and the Republican-led Congress are poised to wipe out crucial environmental safeguards. Here’s how you can join the fight.

Explainer

Now deemed national monuments, these natural beauties will be protected for generations.

Policy Primer

If we don’t address these increasingly severe threats, America’s most treasured lands might soon be unrecognizable.

Personal Action

These iconic American vacation spots will soon become unrecognizable—or worse, vanish. Pack your bags, quick!

onEarth Story

Why are there so many names for legally protected waterways? And what do they all mean?

Policy Primer

Trump likens our “inner cities” to war zones . . . then guts the programs geared to safeguard clean air and water for low-income communities of color.

Western Dispatch

With a new series of bills, California promises to protect the environment no matter what happens on the federal level.

Personal Action

Use NRDC's toolkit to help you take action against the Trump administration's agenda.

What's At Stake

The administration’s assault on our environment and health is unlike any threat we’ve ever faced.

Voices

For archaeologist Angel Peña, this national monument is more than just home to cultural and geological artifacts—it’s where memories and history are made.

Voices

As our national monuments come under attack by Trump, park conservationist Audrey Peterman reminds us that protecting our monuments is also about protecting the legacy of America’s people.

Voices

Former BLM employee Hillerie Patton describes this Nevada landscape as the essence of “This Land is Our Land”—and how preserving wildlife, archaeological sites, and recreation is about quality of life.

Voices

The Trump administration’s review of national monuments threatens America’s culture and natural beauty.

What's At Stake
The Trump Administration Is Pulling the Teeth from Our Most Fundamental Safeguards
The regulations that protect Americans’ health, economy, and environment now need our protection.

Below is a transcript of the video.

(Soundbite of President Trump: This will be the largest-ever cut by far in terms of regulation.)

John Walke, Director, NRDC Clean Air program: I don't think people fully realize how radical the attacks are on the basic safeguards for clean air and clean water and safe food in this country right now. Regulations are facing attack in Washington by politicians in Congress and by the new Trump administration.

Let's start with the basics: The United States Congress passes legislation, sends it to the White House for the president to sign. If the president signs it, it becomes law.

Laws only have meaning if they are enforced and carried out. That's where regulations come in. Federal agencies, like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, issue and enforce regulations to carry out laws like the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and safeguards for Americans' food and a safe environment.

Erik Olson, Director, NRDC Health program: You know when we go home, and we go into the kitchen, and we turn on the tap, we just assume that water is pure, and it's safe. When we go to the grocery store, and we buy some meat, or we buy some vegetables, we just assume that that's safe, and it's not going to make our families sick. Behind all that, is really regulation to make sure that we don't have contaminated tap water, that we don't have contaminated food.

Walke: Enforcing the law through effective regulations delivers enormous health benefits, as well as cost savings for Americans.

Every time the air is clean and harmful pollution is avoided, that means that Americans and their kids don't have to go to emergency rooms; it means they're not suffering bronchitis or asthma attacks.

President Trump has proposed the most extreme budget cut in EPA's history.

(Soundbite of President Trump: Should I give this pen to Andrew? Dow Chemical. Should I? I think maybe, right?)

Slashing the money it needs to enforce the law by over 30 percent and promising layoffs of employees across the agency.

Olson:  We've got to have strong rules, and we've got to have vigorous enforcement, and without that, our health and, in some cases, our lives are at stake. We have disease outbreaks from water contamination still occurring to this day because of shortcomings in enforcement and because of lack of regulation in some cases.

Walke: When there's no money, when there's no law enforcement, when there are no regulations necessary to uphold the law, then you're not committed to clean air and public health, you're not committed to clean water and public safety.

I'm sorry, that's just not the way it works.

Tell your senators to oppose the bill for the "Risk to Americans Act"

Voices

U.S. veteran Paul A. Schwarz, Jr. died from eating a piece of cantaloupe in a fruit cup—all because of a lack of food-safety protections.

Voices

Two brothers tell the story of how their mother died from eating peanut butter, all from a lack of food-safety inspections.

Voices

As he took odd jobs to get by, Robin Tucker’s father developed 20 fatal tumors from being exposed to asbestos, a toxic mineral that is still legal in U.S. products—including children’s toys.

onEarth Story

The White House wants to nix grants that help local governments protect their citizens from pollution.

Policy Primer

Trump likens our “inner cities” to war zones . . . then guts the programs geared to safeguard clean air and water for low-income communities of color.

Southeast Dispatch

For drinking water, flood control, climate defense, habitat protection, fishing, swimming, and, of course, craft beer.

Policy Primer

The Trump administration wants to open our waterways back up to pollution.

NRDC in Action

NRDC’s chief counsel explains the best way to beat back the Trump administration’s attack on our health and environment: sue.

onEarth Story

A recent ruling on methane emissions serves as a smackdown to Pruitt’s EPA—and a way forward for environmentalists.

What's At Stake

Tens of thousands of American families live in repeatedly flooded properties—and many feel like there’s no way out.

Western Dispatch

Local groups and government agencies are working together to remediate this Superfund site in the city’s midst, despite diminishing support from the EPA.

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