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The Environmental Defense Fund works to protect ecosystems on which all life depends. In Austin, vegetation thrives in a field near the mixed-use Mueller Development. Photo by Lizzie Chen for KUT News.

What Is The Environmental Defense Fund?

Background

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is a nonprofit environmental advocacy group that first organized in 1967 after the pesticide DDT was discovered to be threatening wildlife on Long Island, New York. The group is known for its work on issues such as global warming, ecosystem restoration, oceans and human health. It is a nonpartisan organization, emphasizing market-based solutions to solving environmental problems. It works in California, New York, North Carolina, the Rockies and Texas. The Environmental Defense Fund advocates for nonpartisan environmental policy change based in scientific research and does not accept money from corporate clients.

EDF’s research has been used to protect oceans, enact climate legislation and outlaw hazardous chemicals from children’s clothing. The organization has worked with large corporations to encourage them to voluntarily curb pollution and waste, such as in 1991 when EDF convinced McDonald’s to redesign its packaging to be more environmentally friendly. EDF has also partnered with FedEx to create more energy-efficient trucks.

Currently in Texas, EDF is monitoring the environmental consequences of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. In addition to studying the environmental effects of fracking, EDF is campaigning to make fracking techniques more transparent.

EDF is also hard at work in the Texas capital. The Pecan Street Project is a pilot project in Austin that explores how a smarter electrical grid will work. The initiative was developed by the City of Austin in collaboration with EDF, Austin Energy and The University of Texas to reinvent the way electricity is generated and used in Texas.

Latest Posts

Winners and Losers in Texas from Greenhouse Gas Ruling

New EPA regulations would place new restrictions on coal-burning power plants, a major source in Texas for greenhouse gases

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week on a lawsuit over how much latitude the federal government has to regulate facilities that emit greenhouse gases, victory was claimed both by environmentalists who want more regulation and by Texas state officials who wants less. Texas and 16 other states brought the action. The Texas Attorney [...]

Texas Pollution Worsens as Budget Shrinks for Regulators

State regulators blame big spikes in emissions to "upsets" at a few facilities

With budgets already reduced and with more cuts on the way, federal environmental regulators are expected to be doing fewer inspections of industries that pollute. And if state environmental regulators were expected to take up the slack, many of them — including those in Texas —- are dealing with budget cuts of their own. “There [...]

Here’s Who Will Pay You to Use Less Power in Texas

There’s a heated debate going on among state regulators and all over newspaper op-ed pages in Texas: Do we have enough power to meet the demand of our growing population? That answer largely depends on how to spin the latest forecasts and reports, but what is clear is this: the state’s actual power demand hasn’t [...]

How Oil & Gas Drillers Are Trying to Earn Cred with Environmentalists

Vented natural gas burns at processing facility in DeWitt County

When the Environmental Defense Fund and researchers from the University of Texas wanted to find out just how much methane gas was coming from natural gas production sites, they ended up getting “unprecedented” access. The researchers had approached nine, big oil & gas exploration companies, gaining permission to do testing on 190 production sites nationwide. [...]

One Downside of Oil Drilling? Wasted Gas

As the fracking drilling boom continues in Texas and other states, a shift has taken place. While the beginning of the surge saw a rush for natural gas, in recent years the focus has moved to oil. And in the process, a lot of natural gas is being wasted. Billions of dollars worth, enough to [...]

How Much Methane is Leaking From Gas Drilling? New Study Aims to Answer

A new study of natural gas drilling sites out today offers mixed results on methane leakage during the drilling and production process, one issue in an ongoing debate over the safety and risks involved with a new surge in domestic drilling. Since domestic drilling for oil and natural gas has taken off with the help of [...]

Texas Attorney General Loses Round in Ongoing Battle With Federal Government

What does Texas Attorney General (and now candidate for Governor) Greg Abbott like to do for fun? “What I really do for fun is I go into the office,” Abbott said at a speech last year, “[and] I sue the Obama adminstration.” Abbott has been openly bragging on the campaign trail of his many lawsuits against [...]

Abandoned Oil Equipment Spurs Pollution Fears in Texas

Landowner Stuart Carter, in Central Texas near the town of Luling, has years of abandoned oil equipment on his property. Here, two oil wooden oil tanks that he says date to the 1920s.

From the Texas Tribune: LULING — Amid the dry weeds on a 470-acre ranch here, a rusted head of steel pokes up, a vestige of an oil well abandoned decades ago. Across the field stand two huge, old wooden oil tanks, one of them tilting like a smokestack on the Titanic. “Basically I get 61 acres [...]

Report Shows Texas Counties Where Fracking and Water Needs Collide

Tom Bragg, left, of Sunpro Inc., works on finishing filling his truck with water as Gary Wortman takes off the filler hose from his truck after filling up with water at a Chesapeake Energy Corporation fresh water collection station at a sand and gravel pit, May 31, 2012, in Carroll County, Ohio.

The Texas legislature is currently considering plans to fund water projects for the state. Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry is using billions of gallons of freshwater for fracking, which is getting the attention of lawmakers. Virginia Palacios, a research associate at the Environmental Defense Fund, has a new analysis showing that many of the Texas counties [...]

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