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Ann Alexander, Senior Attorney, Chicago

Ann Alexander

I grew up in Seattle, Washington, then went to law school in New York City and lived there for 16 years before coming to the Midwest. I like to think that Seattle gave me a love of our natural environment, and New York gave me the legal street smarts to fight for it. While in New York, I was a clinical professor at the Rutgers Environmental Law Clinic, helping law students to gain practical experience in environmental litigation. After coming to Chicago in 2002, I was Environmental Counsel to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, developing environmental initiatives and serving as her point person on multistate environmental litigation. I have been with NRDC since 2007, and since coming here have worked on a wide variety of issues of concern in the Great Lakes region, both as a litigator and a policy advocate. In particular, I work against dirty fuels projects such as Canadian tar sands development and liquid coal, and in support of strong Clean Water Act regulations and permits.

Recent Posts

EPA damns itself with faint praise in response to Inspector General's Gulf Dead Zone report

Posted December 17, 2014 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, Living Sustainably, U.S. Law and Policy

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You may recall, if you follow these things, that the EPA Office of the Inspector General—EPA’s independent internal watchdog—issued a report in September criticizing EPA’s hands-off approach toward  addressing the nation’s algae pollution crisis.  The Inspector General provided data...continued

Illinois fracking rules update 3: state unveils the final rule

Posted November 14, 2014 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment

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The final draft of the fracking regulations that was approved but not revealed last week has finally been made available to the public.  The product reflects heavy wear and tear from industry’s crusade in recent months to reverse progress by...continued

Illinois fracking rules update 2: state scraps public process in secret backroom deal with industry

Posted November 7, 2014 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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The long process of developing regulations implementing the Illinois fracking legislation is finally over.  The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules on Thursday voted 11-1 to approve a revised version of the rules.  We would love to show you exactly what’s...continued

Illinois fracking rules update: industry self-pity winds up while the clock winds down

Posted October 16, 2014 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment

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On Tuesday, the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules once again postponed its decision concerning the Illinois fracking rules, until November 6.   They are cutting things pretty daredevil close:  Illinois law provides that agencies have exactly one year to...continued

Cry me a polluted river: industry complains the revised Illinois fracking regulations are too clear about public protections

Posted September 15, 2014 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment

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Well that was inevitable.  Now that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has fixed some of the grossest deficiencies in the proposed fracking rules, the ones that gutted the statute’s protections, industry is not happy at all.   They are complaining...continued

Utterly non-surprising EPA Inspector General finding: EPA's weak half-measures on algae pollution aren't working

Posted September 9, 2014 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment

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 The Office of the Inspector General at EPA released a report last week concerning the Agency’s efforts to address the ugly mess of algae that’s choking the Mississippi River basin waterways and creating the enormous (as in, Connecticut-sized enormous) “dead zone”...continued

Revised Illinois fracking rule: meticulous IDNR response closes some loopholes but warns that fracking is still risky

Posted September 4, 2014 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment

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It’s been quite a while since the tumultuous public comment period on the first draft of Illinois’ fracking rules that ended in January, in which a record number of commenters criticized the draft’s multiple glaring inadequacies.  We have heard little...continued

Michigan's draft fracking rules: weak sauce and no beef

Posted August 5, 2014 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment

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Michigan has finally gotten around to proposing new regulations for fracking, but unfortunately for Michiganders, the first three words they bring to mind are, where’s the beef?  Fracking is increasingly posing a threat to health and quality of life in...continued

The State Department's stunningly bad poster child pick

Posted April 4, 2014 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Moving Beyond Oil

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Buried in the State Department’s final environmental impact statement for the Keystone XL pipeline issued in January is an argument that switchovers to tar sands refining are A-ok because they actually reduce pollution.  This is just wrong, as we have...continued

Another Round of EPA Delay in the Dead Zone Litigation

Posted March 19, 2014 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, U.S. Law and Policy

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 EPA has a long and venerable history of being all talk and no action on the Gulf Dead Zone.  That long history just got a little bit longer yesterday.  The U.S. Court of Appeals granted the Agency an 11th-hour stay...continued

Kumbaya fail: EPA's cooperative approach to regulating algae pollution falls flat

Posted February 14, 2014 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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As those of you who follow the green slime crisis in our nation’s waters may know, in the summer of 2008, NRDC and others in the Mississippi River basin states petitioned USEPA to issue regulations to control the pollution that...continued

MWRD water permits: Illinois EPA goes AWOL in the war on green slime

Posted January 27, 2014 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, U.S. Law and Policy

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In big-screen version of The Fugitive, the Tommy Lee Jones character’s gritty colleague Marshall Biggs asks,  “If they can dye the river green today, why can't they dye it blue the other 364 days of the year?”  The Marshall hit close...continued

Time to heed Governor Quinn's call for a petcoke moratorium

Posted January 16, 2014 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment

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After many months of working closely with South Side residents who are choking daily on petcoke, the dirty byproduct of tar sands crude being piled ever higher in the Calumet area, we were pleased to hear Governor Quinn put his...continued

A New Year's resolution for DNR: slow down and do it right

Posted January 2, 2014 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment

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NRDC and its coalition partners rang in the New Year today with an extensive and detailed set of comments on the draft regulations implementing the Illinois fracking bill passed last spring.  We’re joining the thousands of other concerned citizens around...continued

The holiday rush: navigating DNR's hearing and comment process

Posted November 25, 2013 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment

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The day after we sent the Department of Natural Resources a letter complaining of their ridiculously limited public hearing process for the fracking rulemaking, the Department announced three additional public hearings around the state in December.  We’re pleased that they...continued

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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