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We would be happy to connect you with our business and sustainability experts, best practices, case studies and more.

Nancy Buzby email

Senior Director of Marketing, Strategic Initiatives
Boston Office
617-406-1821

Alex Marchyshyn email

Marketing Communications Coordinator, EDF+Business
New York Office
212-616-1396

Amy Morse email

Marketing Communications Coordinator, EDF+Business
Washington, DC Office
202-572-3357

 

Latest Tweets from EDFBiz

Latest Press Releases

  • What we know so far about Rick Perry’s power grid “study”

    By Jim Marston

    Among Rick Perry’s first acts as Secretary of Energy was calling for a 60-day “study” of whether any policies or regulations have led to the premature retirement of coal or nuclear plants. I – and many others in the clean energy industry – are concerned this so-called study will amount to little more than a pro-coal fluff piece.

    To people familiar with energy policy and the coal industry’s rhetoric, Perry’s request is a transparent promotion of coal and a backdoor attack on clean energy resources, like solar, wind, and energy efficiency. Besides, 60 days is barely enough time to fill job vacancies in a new administration, much less conduct a thorough analysis of America’s complex energy policies.

    But until the report is released, we can only look at what Perry and other Trump appointees have said and done about energy, generally, and coal, specifically, to predict what arguments Perry’s office will make.

    Over the next few weeks, EDF will examine several of the administration’s pro-coal arguments and explain why:


    What we know so far about Rick Perry’s power grid “study”
    Click To Tweet


    • Perry’s coal propaganda has nothing to do with reliability and everything to do with giving the pollution industry what it wants. The “grid reliability” angle is a ruse, and one Perry used a decade ago when he tried to fast track new coal plants in Texas. This issue has been studied relentlessly by grid operators and government agencies around the country, and the grid is handling coal’s decline just fine. The Trump administration is using the reliability argument as cover to distract the American people from their close ties with the coal industry. Just look at Perry’s staff at DOE – it’s a who’s who of the fossil fuel industry lobby. His Chief of Staff, who will manage the study, worked for the Edison Electric Institute – where he led its anti-solar campaign.
    • Perry’s (and Trump’s and Pruitt’s) flip-flop on states’ rights is hypocritical. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt recently took time off from decimating our clean air and water protections to second Perry’s argument that some state policies that encourage fuels other than coal could be a national security risk and should be reversed. I must admit, suggesting that coal makes America safer is a clever tactic. But it’s not true, and I suspect this tack is little more than a way for Perry and Pruitt to counter all their vile attacks against the federal government when they were governor of Texas and attorney general of Oklahoma. Apparently, states’ rights are so 2016.
    • Coal is terrible for the economy, human health, and the environment. Propping up the ailing coal industry will hurt the economy and American jobs, serving as another broken promise from Trump. Market trends undeniably show that cleaner, smarter energy – like solar and wind – is creating more jobs than fossil fuel electricity. Furthermore, we know doubling down on dirty coal means more asthma attacks, more health problems for elderly Americans, and a more polluted future.

    The Trump administration may look chaotic, but its actions suggest it is meticulously and unapologetically laying the groundwork for four years of pro-coal policy. This so-called study is just another step of the plan. See also Trump’s latest 2018 budget proposal – leaked last week – which aims to cut funding for DOE’s renewable and energy efficiency program by 70 percent.

    So stay tuned. It’s going to be an interesting few weeks.

    Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

    This post originally appeared on our EDF Voices blog.

    Read more »
  • Toxic secrets in our food? EDF joins in lawsuit aimed at protecting food safety

    By Jack Pratt

    Today, Environmental Defense Fund joined other groups in challenging a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule that allows chemical and food manufacturers to decide for themselves – in secret – what chemicals and food additives can be added to foods. The practice puts our health at risk and does not fulfill Congress’ requirement that FDA determine that chemical additives are safe before they can be used in food.

    Americans would be shocked to learn that food companies routinely add novel chemicals to our food without first getting FDA approval. In doing so, the companies are exploiting a loophole exempting ingredients “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) from formal FDA review and approval.

    Originally intended for ingredients like vinegar and olive oil, industry now abuses the GRAS loophole by bypassing FDA review and making safety determinations in secret. The alarming result: even FDA does not know what is in our food. In fact, FDA has no way to know what chemicals are actually being used in which food or in what quantities—even in baby food.

    Last year, the FDA issued a final rule formalizing this outrageous practice. We described this decision as a lost opportunity for safer food additives when the decision was made. Today, EDF and our colleagues at the Center for Food Safety (CFS), Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, Center for Science in the Public Interest, and Environmental Working Group, represented by CFS and the environmental law firm Earthjustice, joined in filing suit against the FDA for unconstitutionally and illegally delegating that authority to self-interested food and chemical manufacturers.

    It is disappointing that the groups were forced to take legal action. In addition to being a bad policy that doesn’t comply with law, or protect public health, the FDA is oddly out of touch with public sentiment. Just last week an industry funded survey showed overwhelming consumer concern about chemicals in food, including cancer causing chemicals, while showing diminished confidence in the food supply. This continues a trend that has been building for years. Food companies would be wise to take notice: adding secret chemicals without FDA scientific review to our food is no way to improve confidence in their products.

    But with thousands of secret chemicals in our food, we can’t wait for industry or FDA to wise up. Today’s lawsuit seeks to force FDA to do what should be common sense—determine that food additives are safe before they can be added to our food.

    Read more »
  • Protecting people's health while growing Texas' economy

    By John Hall

    A thriving economy now or a thriving planet for my grandchildren?

    Why not both?

    With Texas’s plentiful natural resources and cutting-edge research and development capabilities, we don’t have to choose. If planned strategically, protecting our health and growing the economy go together. Our policymakers and business leaders should make note of our recent history as they’re planning for our future.

    Under former Governor George W. Bush, Texas refineries and petrochemical companies met or exceeded established ozone policies while expanding, innovating, and generating record sales growth. Now, smarter and more efficient energy sources are helping to clean our air while creating higher-than-average paying jobs and attracting large-scale investments into the state.

    Beyond ozone protections

    In accordance with the federal Clean Air Act’s 1990 amendments, the Environmental Protection Agency’s health-based ozone standards required large industrial facilities to drastically cut their nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compound pollution. Moreover, project sponsors had to completely offset the emissions resulting from expansions at existing facilities and newly constructed plants, plus an additional 10 to 20 percent margin.

    Initially, many Texas business leaders boldly predicted refining and petrochemical facilities would be forced to shut down, costing thousands of Texans their jobs.

    But instead, these ozone protections inspired innovation across the industry. Companies were able to go above and beyond simple compliance, and existing operations continued as new plants and major expansions came online. Growth generated greater revenues while giving Texans healthier air, water, and land.

    Thanks to related research, development, and innovation sparked by these standards, the Houston Ship Channel today is buzzing with activity, serving as one of the largest refining and petrochemicals hubs in the world.

    Clean energy potential

    Similarly, clean energy can simultaneously grow the economy and lower pollution. And, it’s booming in Texas.

    Last year, wind provided nearly 15 percent of power in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the flow of electric power to 24 million Texas customers (representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load). And, Texas is on track to become the fastest-growing utility-scale solar market in the United States.

    As more clean energy comes online, it often replaces dirty coal-fired electricity. Consequently, by lowering Texas’s coal power plant emissions approximately 30 percent—an achievable goal—2,300 Texas lives and $20 billion in associated costs could be saved.

    Meanwhile, the wind and solar power industries now employ more than four times as many Texans as the fossil-fuel electricity industry. Plus, nearly 150,000 Texans work in energy efficiency-related jobs. And, wind energy has sparked more than $30 billion in capital investment, far surpassing any other state.

    There are clearly cost-effective ways to protect people and the environment while facilitating economic growth. Texas’s refining and petrochemical industry did it, and the booming clean energy economy here is doing it now. Influencers and policymakers, however, need to recognize and leverage available opportunities. An easy way to give Americans cleaner air and a jolt to the economy is to continue to encourage clean energy’s growth—or at least don’t stand in the way of its impressive momentum.

    This post originally appeared on the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation blog

    Read more »
  • Delta Dispatches: Louisiana's Working Coast

    Welcome to the latest episode of Delta Dispatches with hosts Jacques Hebert & Simone Maloz. We’re happy to welcome Lacy McManus and Joni Tuck to the show today. Lacy is the Director of Program Development of GNO Inc. and talks with Jacques and Simone about the economic case for restoration in Southeast Louisiana. In the second half the show, Joni sits in studio to chat about Port Fourchon & The Working Coast. Joni Tuck is the External Relations Manager for the Greater Lafourche ...

    The post Delta Dispatches: Louisiana's Working Coast appeared first on Restore the Mississippi River Delta.

    Read more »
  • What we know so far about Rick Perry’s power grid “study”

    By Jim Marston

    Among Rick Perry’s first acts as Secretary of Energy was calling for a 60-day “study” of whether any policies or regulations have led to the premature retirement of coal or nuclear plants. I – and many others in the clean energy industry – are concerned this so-called study will amount to little more than a pro-coal fluff piece.

    To people familiar with energy policy and the coal industry’s rhetoric, Perry’s request is a transparent promotion of coal and a backdoor attack on clean energy resources, like solar, wind, and energy efficiency. Besides, 60 days is barely enough time to fill job vacancies in a new administration, much less conduct a thorough analysis of America’s complex energy policies.

    But until the report is released, we can only look at what Perry and other Trump appointees have said and done about energy, generally, and coal, specifically, to predict what arguments Perry’s office will make.

    Over the next few weeks, EDF will examine several of the administration’s pro-coal arguments and explain why:


    What we know so far about Rick Perry’s power grid “study”
    Click To Tweet


    • Perry’s coal propaganda has nothing to do with reliability and everything to do with giving the pollution industry what it wants. The “grid reliability” angle is a ruse, and one Perry used a decade ago when he tried to fast track new coal plants in Texas. This issue has been studied relentlessly by grid operators and government agencies around the country, and the grid is handling coal’s decline just fine. The Trump administration is using the reliability argument as cover to distract the American people from their close ties with the coal industry. Just look at Perry’s staff at DOE – it’s a who’s who of the fossil fuel industry lobby. His Chief of Staff, who will manage the study, worked for the Edison Electric Institute – where he led its anti-solar campaign.
    • Perry’s (and Trump’s and Pruitt’s) flip-flop on states’ rights is hypocritical. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt recently took time off from decimating our clean air and water protections to second Perry’s argument that some state policies that encourage fuels other than coal could be a national security risk and should be reversed. I must admit, suggesting that coal makes America safer is a clever tactic. But it’s not true, and I suspect this tack is little more than a way for Perry and Pruitt to counter all their vile attacks against the federal government when they were governor of Texas and attorney general of Oklahoma. Apparently, states’ rights are so 2016.
    • Coal is terrible for the economy, human health, and the environment. Propping up the ailing coal industry will hurt the economy and American jobs, serving as another broken promise from Trump. Market trends undeniably show that cleaner, smarter energy – like solar and wind – is creating more jobs than fossil fuel electricity. Furthermore, we know doubling down on dirty coal means more asthma attacks, more health problems for elderly Americans, and a more polluted future.

    The Trump administration may look chaotic, but its actions suggest it is meticulously and unapologetically laying the groundwork for four years of pro-coal policy. This so-called study is just another step of the plan. See also Trump’s latest 2018 budget proposal – leaked last week – which aims to cut funding for DOE’s renewable and energy efficiency program by 70 percent.

    So stay tuned. It’s going to be an interesting few weeks.

    Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

    This post originally appeared on our EDF Voices blog.

    Read more »
  • There’s no avoiding it, business must lead on climate

    By Tom Murray

    A few weeks ago, I attended the Earth Day Network’s Climate Leadership Gala in Washington, DC.  Each year the event brings together more than 300 leaders from business, government and the NGO community to celebrate achievements in working towards a clean energy future. This year’s top honor, the Climate Visionary Award, was presented to Unilever CEO Paul Polman for his commitment to fighting climate change.

    Tom Murray, VP Corporate Partnerships, EDFBold, passionate leadership like Polman’s is essential to tackling climate change while helping to create an economy that benefits us all. He understands that it’s not a choice between business and the environment. In fact, a thriving economy depends on a thriving environment.

    Corporate sustainability leadership is now more important than ever. It’s clear that the Trump Administration’s efforts to roll-back environmental protections have thrust U.S. businesses into a critical leadership role on clean energy and climate change. (In fact, I’ll be talking with business leaders later today about how they are “responding to the new norm” at the Sustainable Brands Conference.)


    A thriving economy depends on a thriving environment – why business must lead on climate – @tpmurray
    Click To Tweet


    Over the past 25 years at EDF we’ve seen corporate sustainability go from simple operational efficiencies to global supply chain collaborations; now it’s time to go further. Business must continue to raise the bar for sustainability leadership.

    How?

    1. Set big goals, then tell the world

     Thinking big and setting big goals, are required to drive big innovation and big results.  Many large companies have demonstrated that if you commit to aggressive, science-based, sustainability goals, you can deliver meaningful business and environmental results. For example, Walmart, a longtime EDF partner with a track record of setting aggressive yet achievable climate goals, has recently set its sights even higher by setting a goal to source half of the company’s energy from renewable sources by 2025 and by launching Project Gigaton, a cumulative one gigaton emissions reduction in its supply chain by 2030.

    And Walmart is not the only one. Other companies are stepping up as well – especially around commitments to go 100 percent renewable. Whether its online marketplace eBay committing to 100 percent renewable power in all data centers & offices by 2025, Tesco, one of the world’s largest retailers, announcing science-based targets and committing to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030 or AB InBev committing to 100 percent renewable power, companies from diverse industries are taking a positive step forward.

    While setting goals is a great first step, companies also need to communicate about the goals and progress. Not only does this increase transparency into a business’ sustainability efforts, it lets the world know that sustainability is core to its business. Publicly committing to sustainability goals sends a strong signal to suppliers, shareholders and customers.

    1. Collaborate for scale

    In December 2016 I wrote about Smithfield Foods, the world’s number one pork producer, and its plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2025. The commitment was important both because Smithfield was the first major protein company to adopt a greenhouse gas reduction goal but also because the reductions would come from across Smithfield's supply chain, on company-owned farms, at processing facilities and throughout its transportation network.

    Smithfield understands that some environmental challenges are too big to handle on their own, and they know collaboration is the key to deliver impact at scale.

    Other companies are also looking beyond their own supply chain and forming mutually beneficial partnerships. Take the recent partnership between UPS and Sealed Air Corporation, for example. The two companies have announced the opening of a Packaging Innovation Center in Louisville, Kentucky where they will solve the packaging and shipping challenges of e-commerce retailers but also drive new efficiencies while minimizing waste. This is a critical issue that is material to both their businesses, and by joining forces, are finding ways to solve an environmental challenge while improving their bottom lines.

    1. Publicly support smart climate policy

    I can’t stress how critical it is right now for business leaders to move beyond their comfort zones and make their voices heard on smart climate and environmental policy. If you want to be a sustainability leader, continuing to hoe your own garden is no longer enough.  You need to align your strategy, operations, AND advocacy.  We know that environmental safeguards drive innovation, create jobs, and support long-term strategic planning.

    The good news is leading voices are chiming in, from CEOs signing an open letter to Trump to more than 1,000 companies signing the Low-Carbon USA letter, in favor of environmental policies.

    Some companies like Tiffany & Co. are also taking a public stand on their own. The company used its usual ad position in the New York Times to tell President Trump directly that Tiffany is backing policies that will lead us to a clean energy future.

    The Way Forward

    Taking the leadership mantle is never easy, but now is the time for every corporate leader to get off the sidelines and into the game. There’s plenty of room for more leaders like Polman who are ready to address climate change head-on, creating opportunities for economic growth, new jobs, and a cleaner future.  Will your company be next?

    Follow Tom Murray on Twitter: @TPMurray

    Read more »
  • New Leader of Pennsylvania Environmental Department Must Address Rising Methane Emissions
    Read more »
  • Trump Budget Cuts Would Gut Our Ability to Protect Americans’ Health
    Read more »
  • FDA is reevaluating its tolerances for lead in food, and food manufacturers should be prepared

    By Tom Neltner

    By Tom Neltner, J.D., EDF Chemicals Policy Director and Maricel Maffini, Ph.D., Consultant

    Until recently, we have known very little about lead exposure from food. Shockingly, a recent report from the EPA found that two-thirds of one-year olds get most of their lead exposure from food. This and other developments in recent years have prompted FDA to reevaluate its procedures regarding lead levels in food. Leading companies should take notice.

    We have written about the health risk of lead exposure from major sources such as paint and water and the well-known fact that there is no safe level of lead in the blood of children. We also wrote about what agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are doing to reduce or eliminate persistent sources of lead exposure as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

    In its recently released FAQs for lead in food, FDA describes what it has done, its current standards and its planned next steps. The agency makes no reference to EPA’s assessment and attributes all of the lead in food to contaminated soil. Because it assumes that the environment is the only source, contamination is unavoidable and lead cannot be removed from the food supply.

    To limit lead in food to the greatest extent possible, FDA set the following tolerances:

    • Bottled water: 5 parts per billion (ppb);
    • Juices from berries and other small fruits, including grapes, and passion fruits: 50 ppb;
    • Other fruit juices and nectars, including apple: 30 ppb;
    • Candy likely to be consumed by small children: 100 ppb; and
    • Dried fruits, including raisins: 100 ppb.

    Only the bottled water tolerance is established in regulations. For the rest, FDA provides only guidance.

    How did FDA set the tolerances?

    The 5 ppb limit in bottled water was established by FDA in 1995 based on the inability to reliably measure below that level and that only 2 of 48 (4%) samples collected by FDA exceeded those levels. For comparison, in 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended lead levels in drinking water at schools be less than 1 ppb.

    The fruit juice limits are based on international food standards set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), an organization representing 188 countries and the European Union. Those standards were designed to ensure that only about 5% of the juice samples would exceed them. While Codex recognizes the risks posed by lead, its standard was not based on those risks.

    For all other foods, FDA relies on a maximum daily intake level of 6 micrograms of lead per day (µg/day) for young children that it established in 1993 based on CDC’s Level of Concern of 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (µg/dL).

    One million children exceed FDA’s current maximum daily intake level

    In the FAQs, FDA affirmed that “there is no known identified safe blood lead level” and acknowledges that scientific information has become available in the last decade that indicates neurotoxic effects at low levels of exposure to lead. It notes that the evidence has prompted EPA to lower its air quality standard, CDC to strengthen its standards, and the Joint WHO and FAO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) to withdraw its limit for lead because it concluded there was no safe level in food. With this backdrop, FDA is reevaluating “its methods for determining when it should take action with respect to measured levels of lead in particular foods, including those consumed by infants and toddlers.”

    At EDF, we are pleased to see FDA has undertaken this long overdue reevaluation. EPA’s draft report estimates that more than 5% of children between 2 and 7 years consume more than the 6 µg of lead/day FDA says is tolerable. This estimate excludes drinking water. With 20 million children in those age groups, that means 1 million children exceed the maximum daily intake level. And, by all accounts, this 1993 level does not reflect the mounting scientific evidence that has led other science-based organizations to reduce their standards. We are also encouraged to see that FDA is willing to be more protective of children’s health by conducting its own assessment rather than just following the Codex standards for fruit juices.

    Food manufacturers and retailers can better earn consumer trust and avoid more costly reactions to regulations by updating their preventive controls and supply chain management programs now to reduce lead levels in food.

    Read more »
  • With methane plan, New York doubles down on climate protections

    By Mark Brownstein

    New York is now the latest in a growing number of states cracking down on methane – the powerful greenhouse gas responsible for about a quarter of global warming.

    The effort comes on the heels of a successful senate vote to uphold methane limits for oil and gas companies operating on our nation’s public and tribal lands, and sends yet another strong message to the oil and gas industry that Americans want and expect commonsense standards that  protect our health and natural resources.

    Governor Cuomo’s new plan takes a comprehensive approach to tackling methane from the state’s biggest emission sources: landfills, agriculture, and the oil and gas industry. Collectively, the twenty-five reduction strategies outlined will allow New York to significantly curb methane pollution and allow the state to deliver on its 2030 climate target.

    One of the biggest opportunities for methane reductions is in the oil and gas sector, where companies can eliminate nearly half of current emissions at minimal cost.

    This is a strong move by Governor Cuomo at the exact right time.

    The Trump administration has initiated a series of efforts in recent months to dismantle our nation’s clean air safeguards, including those that address oil and gas methane emissions.

    Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a stay on protections that would have reduced methane from new oil and gas facilities. And before that the agency announced it would no longer collect data about emissions from existing facilities.

    But Trump’s home state is signaling a refusal to be deterred.

    Cuomo’s plan will reinstate EPA standards for New York’s oil and gas facilities and calls for additional measures to reduce systematic methane leaks from pipelines, storage facilities and old, abandoned wells.

    As one of the nation’s top five consumers of gas, New York has a special responsibility to ensure it is transported and distributed responsibly. By implementing measures to reducing emissions from natural gas gathering lines, transmission facilities and gas utility pipelines, New York is stepping up to the task.

    Reducing methane from the oil and gas sector – whether it’s the well head or city pipelines – is one of the most cost-effective ways to take on one of the worst climate offenders and shore up our nation’s energy security.  Standards that require oil and gas companies to take methane out of the atmosphere and deliver more energy to our communities are the exact kind of protections that the majority of American’s support.  Continued state leadership – like this latest effort in New York – is critical to assuring Americans across the country that those safeguards will be in place.

    Read more »