America’s Northeast and Mid-Atlantic is home to majestic wild areas like Acadia National Park and the rugged White Mountains, as well as some of the most densely populated cities in the nation. The region’s status as a financial, academic, and political powerhouse elevates many of its challenges and solutions—including those around climate change—to the national level.
Throughout this region—encompassing Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.—NRDC works to protect the beloved Atlantic coastline, fight dirty energy systems and legacy pollutants, combat climate change and advance clean energy with innovative programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and fortify local communities through environmental justice action.
Some of our accomplishments:
- NRDC successfully fought for the establishment of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off New England’s coast in 2016, and we continue to defeat efforts to dismantle it for short-term economic gain. Now a protected haven for endangered whales and thousand-year-old corals, the Canyons and Seamounts monument is the first marine monument off the continental United States.
- All along the Atlantic coast, NRDC is supporting the responsible expansion of offshore wind power. In Massachusetts, NRDC and our partners reached a historic agreement to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale during the construction and operation of an 800-megawatt project.
- On land, NRDC has been fighting dirty energy by blocking and delaying fossil fuel projects like the Constitution, Northern Access, and Williams fracked gas pipelines. Instrumental in securing a historic ban on fracking in New York, we are working on a similar ban in the Delaware River Basin, a source of drinking water for more than 17 million people.
- NRDC played a central role in the pioneering Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the nation’s first market-based program to cut carbon pollution from the power sector. Since 2009, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont have been able to dramatically cut emissions. NRDC is working to build on that success with a regional program to clean up and modernize the transportation sector.
- NRDC is advancing ambitious climate and clean energy policies in New York—like the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the strongest state-level climate legislation adopted to date. It includes binding greenhouse-gas emissions limits; sets an economy-wide goal of net-zero emissions for the state; requires a massive scaling up of solar and wind to deliver 70 percent of power from renewables by 2030, and help reduce emissions from the electric supply to zero by 2040; and includes environmental justice components. New York City also adopted bold legislation, the Climate Mobilization Act, which requires buildings to significantly curb carbon emissions and creates a finance tool to help bolster energy efficiency and on-site renewable energy.
- Our experts are also working in New Jersey to scale up energy efficiency, increase the deployment of electric vehicles, bolster offshore wind, and reform the electric-utility business model. In Pennsylvania, we’re advocating for rates and utility programs that support energy efficiency, distributed energy resources, and safe and affordable utility service—while promoting market-based carbon limits and appropriate incentives for clean energy technologies in order to cut pollution from the electric power sector.
- NRDC is working with communities large and small to litigate environmental justice cases, representing residents of Newark, New Jersey, facing lead contamination in their drinking water and securing a landmark settlement with the New York City Housing Authority to combat chronic mold problems impacting many of its 400,000 public housing residents.
- NRDC is working in partnership with the Urban School Food Alliance to dramatically improve the quality and sustainability of food served at some of the nation’s largest school districts, including New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.
- We continue to fight both old and new threats to our waterways—holding General Electric to account in the cleanup of toxic PCBs in the Hudson River, forcing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate stormwater discharges in Baltimore and restore the Chesapeake Bay, and challenging a flawed plan for trash pollution in Washington, D.C.’s Anacostia River. NRDC has also been fighting to protect river herring, whose huge spawning runs were once an ecological linchpin of Atlantic coastal ecosystems but are now threatened by overfishing, dams, pollution, and climate change.
- Through our advocacy, both New York and New Jersey are in the process of adopting the country’s strictest regulations on PFOA and PFOS, harmful contaminants discovered in drinking water supplies across the country.
- NRDC is pushing decision makers in New York and New Jersey to save our critical pollinators by clamping down on the use of bee-toxic neonicotinoids, the pesticides linked to plummeting pollinator populations across the United States.
- NRDC helped pass laws prohibiting the trade of ivory and rhino horns in New York and New Jersey, two of the largest markets in the United States. We also pushed New York to ban the trade of any wildlife considered vulnerable or endangered—a move that will ultimately help reverse biodiversity loss.