Environmental Defense Fund

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This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy


Environmental Defense Fund (previously known as Environmental Defense before changing its name back to its original name) is a US-based Environmental organization. It describes itself as being “dedicated to protecting the environmental rights of all people, including future generations. Among these rights are clean air and water, healthy and nourishing food, and a flourishing ecosystem. Guided by science, Environmental Defense evaluates environmental problems and works to create and advocate solutions that win lasting political, economic and social support because they are nonpartisan, cost-efficient and fair.”

Sharon Beder notes that: “The influence of neoliberal think tanks on environmental policy has been pervasive. Yet their efforts to replace legislative solutions with free market programs have been accepted largely without scrutiny of the ideological agenda behind them. Many environmentalists have been persuaded by the rhetoric of free market environmentalism. For example the US Environmental Defense Fund has been at the forefront of the push for tradeable pollution rights and the Natural Resources Defense Council has also supported them.” [1]



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An article in In These Times described the beginnings of Environmental Defense:

“Created in 1967 by a small band of lawyers seeking to ban DDT, EDF [Environmental Defense Fund] evolved into George Bush’s favorite environmental group. The group is the premier advocate or market-oriented solutions to environmental problems. EDF was a cheerleader for NAFTA, and gets excited about pollution credits, emissions trading systems and user fees for recreational use of public lands. it hosts the Barbra Streisand Chair of Environmental Studies, the perch of scientist Michael Oppenheimer, who advocates buying up development rights in the Third World as a solution to global climate change. EDF convinced McDonalds in 1991 to reform its solid-waste disposal practices and to move from Styrofoam to paper packaging (but remained mum on quality of food, ecologically destructive ranching practices and abusive treatment of animals and workers.) In cooperation with major timber companies, the group developed a “paper-use task force,” whose recommendations discreetly ignored sustainable alternatives to paper such as industrial hemp and kenaf. Inc. magazine praised president Fred Krupp for his ability to “speak capitalism.” “[1]

TXU Deal

As part of the estimated US$45 billion buyout, Texas utility TXU (now Luminant) settled a series of lawsuits with Environmental Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council and agreed to cancel 8 of its planned 11 new Texas coal-fired power plants as well as several new coal-fired plants in Pennsylvania and Virginia, back federal legislation to create a cap-and-trade system regulating CO2 emissions, and double spending on energy efficiency. In return, Environmental Defense and NRDC agreed not to campaign against TXU’s remaining three Texas coal-fired plants.[2] In March 2007, TXU announced its official withdrawal of the air permit applications for the eight cancelled plants.[3]

The following proposed Texas coal plants were cancelled in TXU deal:

The following plants were allowed to proceed:


Contact details

257 Park Avenue South,
New York, NY 10010
Phone (Media Contact):
Donations/Membership 1-800-684-3322
Fax: (212) 505-2375
Email: media AT environmentaldefense.org
Email : general members AT environmentaldefense.org
Web: http://www.environmentaldefense.org


  1. ? Jeffrey St. Clair and Bernardo Issel, [http://www.lightparty.com/Economic/EnvMovement.html “A Field Guide to the Environmental Movement,” In These Times, Jul. 28, 1997.
  2. ? A Buyout Deal That Has Many Shades of Green, New York Times, February 26, 2007.
  3. ? “TXU Halts Efforts To Obtain Permits for Eight Coal-Fueled Units”, press release, March 1, 2007.

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