NRDC Fills Two Top Advocacy Positions

WASHINGTON  – Ana Unruh Cohen, a longtime congressional staffer with deep and broad experience in environmental protection and advocacy, is joining the Natural Resources Defense Council as government affairs director. Ed Yoon, a key leader in NRDC’s Center for Policy Advocacy for the past four years, has been named its permanent director.

Unruh Cohen, a former Rhodes Scholar with a Ph.D. in geochemistry, has served as Director of Energy, Climate and Natural Resources in the office of Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) for the last four years.

A native of Corpus Christi, TX, Unruh Cohen is a graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio. She first worked for Markey in the House, initially as a science policy fellow and then as a legislative assistant. Later she served as deputy staff director and chief scientist, first on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and then on the House Natural Resources Committee. Earlier, Unruh Cohen spent three years as the first director of environmental policy at the Center for American Progress.

Unruh Cohen will lead a team of 7 in NRDC’s government affairs division, which is part of the larger 50- member Center for Policy Advocacy team that Yoon will oversee. His team also includes

NRDC’s advocacy affiliates, campaigns unit, and the NRDC Action Fund.   

Originally from Los Angeles, Yoon joined NRDC in 2013, as associate director then deputy director of the Center for Policy Advocacy. After graduating from UCLA with a B.A. in political science, he worked in a variety of issue advocacy and political campaigns around the country including for the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, the League of Conservation Voters, and the Democratic National Committee, among others.

Yoon has served as acting director of Center for Policy Advocacy since the departure of David Goldston, who also held the title of government affairs director. (Goldston became director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Washington office in May).

“Ed has done an outstanding job helping to steer NRDC’s resistance to the Trump administration’s ongoing assault on our health, our environment and our communities,” said Rhea Suh, NRDC president. “At every step of the way, he has demonstrated the strategic vision, managerial leadership, and boundless persistence that is exactly what we need in these times.”

“I’m equally thrilled that Ana is joining NRDC. In addition to her command of science, Ana’s keen understanding of the legislative process and the congressional landscape will be invaluable assets to me and to everyone at NRDC. Together, Ed and Ana will help take our advocacy work to a new level – and none too soon,” Suh said.


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.