Environment America

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Environment America
Founded 2007[1]
Type 501(c)(4)
Fields Environmentalism
Key people
Margie Alt, Ana Aurilio
Revenue (2013)
Expenses (2013) $7,875,255[2]
Website www.environmentamerica.org

Environment America is a federation of liberal state-based environmental advocacy organizations in the United States.[3][4] The organization researches and advocates for environmental policies through lobbying and the mobilization of public support.[5] Environment America advocates new laws and policies to address climate change,[6] and is a proponent of clean energy.[7] It opposes offshore drilling.[8]


On November 5, 2007, Environment America separated from the state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRG) and announced its intent to take control of the organization's national environmental advocacy program. The federation combined several small, state-based advocacy groups that had separated from the U.S. PIRGs earlier in the year. As a result of the separation of the organizations, the PIRGs’ scope of work was defined as consumer and social justice issues while Environment America became responsible for the group’s previous environmental work.

Environment America is a recommended funding target of the Democracy Alliance, a coalition of progressive donors who coordinate their political giving.[9]

National work[edit]

Environment America works to publicize and gain support for controversial environmental challenges in the United States. Their areas of interest include the use of renewable energy sources,[10] climate change,[11] water pollution,[12] air pollution,[13] fossil fuel dependency,[14] environmental conservation,[15] and offshore drilling.[16] The organization releases reports on topics such as wind energy policy,[17] the presence of mercury in contaminated fish, companies’ compliance to the Clean Water Act,[18] energy efficient buildings,[19] extreme weather in the U.S.,[20] precipitation rates,[21] fuel efficient cars,[22] and levels of carcinogens in waterways.[23]

The organization has sought to influence the nation's environmental stance through politics. Environment America publishes an annual scorecard of members of the U.S. Congress based on how they voted on environmental issues in that year's session. Members of the Democratic Party typically score higher than members of the Republican Party on the scorecard.[24] In 2009, Environment America reviewed more than 100 environmental policies adopted by states in previous years.[25] The organization has endorsed candidates during national elections.[26] In 2008 and 2012, they joined the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters and Clean Water Action in endorsing Barack Obama’s reelection to office.[27]

Besides supporting political candidates, Environment America and the Sierra Club have worked together on various environmental efforts. These joint efforts include supporting the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act in 2007,[28] opposing amendments to the Climate Security Act in 2008,[11] supporting the EPA's proposal for a fuel economy label,[29] supporting the National Ocean Policy in 2010,[12] and opposing the bill H.R. 850[30] and the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011.[31]

State work[edit]

Environment America has 29 state affiliates,[32] including Environment California and Environment Oregon.

Environment California[edit]

Environment California has supported environmental campaigns within California including statewide bans on plastic bags,[33] the reduction of energy inefficient appliances,[34] and the expansion of the state's solar metering program[35] and solar energy production.[36] The advocacy group has also worked to reform California’s renewable energy policies.[10][37] Environment California supported a law that Governor Jerry Brown signed in 2011 which mandated that 33% of the state's energy must come from renewable sources by 2020, an increase from the previous requirement of 20%.[38]

Environment California released reports on the energy consumption of public schools,[39] solar projects on school campuses,[40] Californian cities' solar power production,[41][42] "green job" training programs within the state,[43] and the costs of fossil fuels.[14]

Environment Texas[edit]

In 2009, Environment Texas and the Sierra Club filed similar lawsuits against Chevron Phillips for alleged violations of pollution limits[44] and the Shell Oil Company for alleged illegal air pollution emissions.[45] Shell Oil Company agreed to pay a $5.8 million settlement, reduce emissions from its Deer Park refinery by 80%, upgrade chemical units, and reduce gas flaring.[46] The following year, the environmental groups sued the largest oil refinery in the United States, Exxon Mobil, accusing it of violating the Clean Air Act through the release of emissions from refineries and chemical plants in the Texas Gulf coast.[47]


PennEnvironment has released several reports that analyze environmental concerns in Pennsylvania including counties' recycling fees,[48] the dumping of toxic chemicals by industrial facilities into the state’s waterways,[49] and the building of roads and logging in the Allegheny National Forrest.[15] Another report released by the state affiliate found that power plants fueled by coal in the state release large amounts of pollution that contribute to unhealthy smog and put susceptible populations at risk.[13] In 2011, PennEnvironment condemned the government's decision to reject stricter air pollution regulations that would diminish ground-level ozone, the main component of harmful smog.[50]

In 2012, PennEnvironment, along with the Sierra Club, sued PPG Industries for the contamination of lagoons and a solid waste landfill at the company's Ford City site near the Allegheny River which resulted from the disposal of glass polishing waste.[51] Chemical testing revealed high levels of arsenic, lead, antimony, iron and chromium at the site.[51] The environmental groups claimed that the company violated the Clean Water Act and Resources Conservation and Recovery Act and failed to follow an administrative order issued by the DEP under the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law to clean up the site in 2009.[51]


  1. ^ Stein, Karen F. (2013). Rachel Carson: Challenging Authors. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9789462090682. 
  2. ^ a b "IRS Form 990" (PDF). Guidestar. Internal Revenue Service. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  3. ^ Howard, Jordan (2011-09-02). "Green Groups Struggle With Obama's Mixed Environmental Record". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  4. ^ Gerken, James; Rael, Andrea (October 11, 2013). "'Fracking By The Numbers' Report Urges U.S. To Ban 'Environmental Nightmare'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Guillen, Alex (2013). "Lobbying Roundup". Politico. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  6. ^ Barringer, Felicity (December 5, 2007). "Precipitation Across U.S. Intensifies Over 50 Years". New York Times. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  7. ^ Mulkern, Anne (January 20, 2011). "Buzz Builds for 'Clean Energy' Standard, but Passage Won't Be Easy". New York Times. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  8. ^ Power, Stephen (March 31, 2010). "http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/category/environment/page/24/". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  9. ^ Markay, Lachlan (October 21, 2014). "Democracy Alliance Dark Money Network Spends Millions for Udall". Washington Free Beacon. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Shauk, Zain (2009). "Legislators pass renewable energy bills". Glensdale News-Press. Retrieved September 14, 2009. 
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  12. ^ a b Sierra Club (2010). "Letter to House and Senate Leaders" (PDF). Physicians for Social Responsibility. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  13. ^ a b Hopey, Don (2011). "Pa. second in U.S. for smog-producing pollution". Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  14. ^ a b Seba, Tony (2010). "Cheap Hot Water? Just Add Sunshine". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-02-17. 
  15. ^ a b Cotton, Josh (2012). "Enviro group, reps at odds on ANF". Time Observer. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  16. ^ Hulse, Carl (2008-09-12). "Democrats Reluctantly Embrace Offshore Drilling". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  17. ^ U.S. Colorado Senator Office (n.d.). "Environment America Report Enhances Case for Wind PTC Extension". United States Senator for Colorado. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  18. ^ The National Clean Water Network (n.d.). "Environment America Releases New Report on Clean Water Act Compliance". Clean Water Network. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  19. ^ Koch, Wendy (2012-03-08). "As gas prices soar, studies tout energy efficiency". USA Today. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  20. ^ Klernan, Kate (2013). "Blizzard provokes climate change debate among scientists". The Brown Daily Herald. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
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  23. ^ Goodenow, Evan (2012). "Lake Erie ranks in nation’s top 50 for carcinogens dumped into water". The Chronicle-Telegram. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  24. ^ Nichols, Lee (2010-01-08). "Congressional Scorecard: Making the Green Grade". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  25. ^ Learn, Scott (2009-12-04). "U.S. states have taken big steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions, report says". Oregonian. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  26. ^ Greene, Brian (2012). "Environmental Groups Endorse Obama". US News. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  27. ^ The Washington Post (2012-04-18). "Obama endorsed by major environmental groups". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  28. ^ Boxer, Barbara (2007). "U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works". U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  29. ^ Sierra Club (2010). "Sierra Club Comments EPA Proposed Fuel Economy Label" (PDF). Sierra Club. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  30. ^ Lee, Bill (2011). "Letter to Congressmen Hastings and Markey" (PDF). National Parks Conservation Association. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  31. ^ Sierra Club (2012). "Letter to Senator" (PDF). European Commission. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  32. ^ The Public Interest Network (n.d.). "Action in the States". The Public Interest Network. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  33. ^ Lee, Mike (2012). "Bill to ban plastic bags advances in Sacramento". U-T San Diego. Retrieved 2013-02-17. 
  34. ^ Lee, Mike (2006). "Even in energy-efficient world, devices' drain powerful". U-T San Diego. Retrieved 2013-02-17. [dead link]
  35. ^ Cox, John (2012). "State expands solar metering program". The Bakersfield Californian. Retrieved 2013-02-17. 
  36. ^ Shih, Gerry (2009-10-16). "Consumers Pay the Price". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-02-17. 
  37. ^ Wycoff, Ann (2009). "The Whirlwind Tour: Windmills in California". Wandermelon. Retrieved 2013-02-17. 
  38. ^ McGreevy, Patrick (2011-04-13). "Gov. Brown signs law requiring 33% of energy be renewable by 2020". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-02-17. 
  39. ^ Keller, Ben (2012). "Schools go solar to save cash, revive programs". The Business Journal. Retrieved 2013-02-17. 
  40. ^ United Press International (2012). "Survey: California schools going solar". UPI. Retrieved 2013-02-17. 
  41. ^ Turner, Dan (2012-04-24). "Cloudy skies for L.A.'s solar efforts". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-02-17. 
  42. ^ Seba, Tony (2012). "Five Reasons Why California Cities Will Build One Million Solar Roofs and 12 Distributed GW by 2020". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-02-17. 
  43. ^ Smith, Kevin (2011). "Green jobs gaining traction in California". Redlands Daily Facts. Retrieved 2013-02-17. 
  44. ^ Seba, Erwin (2009-08-19). "Green groups sue Chevron Phillips over pollution". Reuters. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  45. ^ "Exxon Mobil sued over oil refinery, air laws". NBC News. Associated Press. 2010. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  46. ^ Mouwad, Jad (2009-04-24). "Shell Settles Air Pollution Accusations". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  47. ^ "Exxon Mobil sued over oil refinery, air laws". NBC News. Associated Press. 2010. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  48. ^ Portnoy, Jenna (2011). "DEP blocks Pa. counties from collecting recycling fees". The Morning Call. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  49. ^ Adkins, Jared (2012). "Pennsylvania Water 7th Most Polluted In Nation". WESA. Retrieved 2013-01-04. [dead link]
  50. ^ Sapatkin, Don (2011). "Smog in Phila.'s air actually worse than people think, environmental group says". Philly. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  51. ^ a b c Spencer, Malla (2012). "PennEnvironment, Sierra Club sue PPG over Ford City site". Pittsburgh Business Times. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 

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