Edwin Chen, NRDC, 202/289-2373
Erik Olson is a Veteran Attorney and Health Champion
WASHINGTON (May 25, 2006) -- Erik D. Olson, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the country's largest and most effective environmental and conservation organizations, has been named its new director of advocacy.
The move is part of NRDC's ongoing effort to expand and extend its campaign on behalf of safer, healthier communities and the protection of our natural habitats.
Mr. Olson, who joined NRDC in 1991, has been a leader in the environmental and public health community for two decades, specializing in drinking water, pesticides, toxics and food safety.
"Erik is a tremendous fighter for ordinary Americans and their communities," said NRDC President Frances Beinecke. "He's successfully kept poisons off our plates and out of our drinking water, and he's made sure that people who have historically been left behind get their fair shake. His job now is to chart a bolder, bigger course for this organization, and the environmental community as a whole."
In his new post, he will have oversight and primary responsibility for NRDC's priority advocacy campaigns and will coordinate the organization's external relations with other environmental groups. Mr. Olson also will direct NRDC's state and Latino outreach campaigns and promote alliances with the growing coalition of organizations determined to protect the Earth and our health, end America's addiction to oil and reverse global warming.
"I am honored to have the chance to fight some of the world's most important battles shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the best in the business. I know the public wants to leave our children and grandchildren a planet with clean air to breathe, pure water to drink and play in, protected special places to explore, clean renewable energy sources, and a healthy climate. I have faith that in our democracy, eventually the political process will catch up to the public," Mr. Olson said.
Mr. Olson brings to his new assignment a long record of achievements in the arena. In addition to having brought successful major environmental impact litigation in the federal courts, Mr. Olson has been a leader in legislative efforts that led to safer drinking water laws and tougher pesticide protection standards.
He chairs the Campaign for Safe and Affordable Drinking Water, a coalition of more than 300 groups dedicated to improving our drinking water.
Mr. Olson is the author or co-author of more than a dozen studies on drinking water, pesticides and related issues. He also led NRDC's work with community and environmental justice groups in New Orleans to ensure that state and federal officials responded more forcefully to the serious health threats in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Before joining NRDC, Mr. Olson was a lawyer at the National Wildlife Federation and served in the office of the general counsel at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He earned his undergraduate degree in environmental biology and management at Columbia University and his law degree at the University of Virginia, where he served on the editorial board of the Environmental Law Journal.