New York

Algonquin Peak as viewed from Indian Falls Shutterstock

New York was one of the first states to pass a wilderness-preservation law, setting aside millions of acres in the Adirondack Mountains for future generations. And its biggest city leads the nation in public transportation, water safety, and energy efficiency.

NRDC was born in New York City in 1970 and soon thereafter became active on statewide environmental issues. Over the past four decades, our work here has anchored our overall Northeast regional advocacy efforts, including spearheading campaigns to protect residents from the threats of pollution, whether in West Harlem or Albany. And, with NRDC’s help, New York City has set an example for the rest of the country on everything from public transit to drinking-water protection to air-pollution reduction.

Some of our accomplishments:

  • Litigated key environmental justice cases, including successfully representing Albany neighborhoods contaminated by lead from a state-operated garbage incinerator and securing a landmark federal court settlement with the New York City Housing Authority on chronic mold problems, which will help the 400,000 public-housing residents.
  • Helped secure a ban on natural gas fracking in New York, while also helping to enact landmark renewable energy, energy efficiency, and green building programs.
  • Worked directly with the New York City Department of Education and the Urban School Food Alliance—a coalition of the nation’s largest school districts—to start serving antibiotic-free chicken to nearly three million students as well as replace 225 million polystyrene lunch trays with compostable plates.
  • Drafted legislation and led coalition to enact and enforce New York City’s landmark recycling law.
  • Launched the Dump Dirty Diesel campaign and transformed the nation’s largest bus fleet.
  • Helped develop the New York Green Bank, a public-private financing institution with the authority to raise capital to support clean energy and energy-efficiency projects.
  • Successfully pushed for comprehensive watershed-protection program to protect New York City’s irreplaceable water supply.