NRDC Announces EPA Environmental Justice Leader as New Senior Vice President for Environmental Health

As NRDC’s SVP for Environmental Health, Tejada will oversee programs focused on toxics, air, water, and adaptation.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Matthew Tejada has been named Senior Vice President (SVP) for Environmental Health at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). Tejada will lead the organization’s Environmental Health division, serving as the chief visionary and strategist for NRDC’s advocacy to protect human health. 

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to join such a crucially important organization as NRDC during this pivotal time in the battle to fight both the legacy of pollution that continues to overburden so many communities across the United States while simultaneously working to slow and combat our changing climate,” said Tejada. “Leading the EPA’s EJ program over the past decade has been both an incredible honor and provided a powerful perspective to return to advocating for change on the frontlines.”

Tejada most recently served as the deputy assistant administrator for Environmental Justice within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s national program Office for Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights. During his more than 10 years leading the EPA’s EJ program, he was responsible for all aspects of EJ work throughout the agency, most significantly over the development of an array of EJ grants and technical assistance vehicles and development and deployment of EJScreen. Tejada provided leadership across the federal family throughout his service as well as to numerous partners in state, local, and tribal governments. His work also included external aspects, such as direct community engagement, outreach and communication, and management of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Committee. 

As NRDC’s SVP for Environmental Health, Tejada will oversee programs focused on Toxics, Air & Water and Adaptation, including NRDC’s Safe Drinking Water Initiative, which seeks to ensure all lead drinking water pipes in American cities are replaced in the next 10 years. He will be responsible for leading, scaling, and operationalizing the teams, structures, partnerships, and policy initiatives needed to tackle major health threats facing the public. 

“The human health impacts of pollution and climate change is a growing global crisis,” said NRDC President & CEO Manish Bapna. “And it's impacting low-income communities and people of color first and worst. This must change, and NRDC—with Matthew's leadership—is deepening and sharpening our work to tackle this threat. Matthew brings the vision, experience and determination needed to help lead this fight. We’re delighted he’s joining our team.”

Prior to joining the EPA, Tejada served as the executive director of Air Alliance Houston, an environmental justice organization that works to reduce the public health impacts from air pollution. Tejada also worked as a public advocate with the Texas Public Interest Research Group, where he managed several advocacy programs focused on consumer, health and environmental issues including federal ozone NAAQS review and urban transit planning.

He received his master's and Ph.D. from the University of Oxford and a BA in English from the University of Texas at Austin, and served two years in the Peace Corps in Bulgaria.

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Established in 1970, NRDC uses science, policy, law, and people power to confront the climate crisis, protect public health, and safeguard nature. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, Beijing and Delhi (an office of NRDC India Pvt. Ltd). Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.   

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