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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

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

How the grinch stole public comment

Posted November 18, 2013 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment

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Who says the Illinois Department of Natural Resources doesn’t have holiday spirit?  They’ve scheduled the public comment period for their huge and hugely problematic set of draft fracking rules to coincide exactly with the holiday season.  The comment period began...continued

Illinois' draft fracking regulations: haste makes waste

Posted November 15, 2013 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment

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The Illinois Department of Natural Resources today published a draft of its proposed fracking regulations in the Illinois Register.  Sadly, looking through them brings the expression “haste makes waste” vividly to life.     The speeding train that is fracking in Illinois,...continued

Just when you thought it was safe: BP tar sands permit II, the sequel

Posted October 21, 2013 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, U.S. Law and Policy

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Here they go again.  With sad predictability, BP has once again used funny numbers to calculate the emissions from a tar sands conversion project, and once again a state has let them get away with it.  And, once again, NRDC...continued

Final permit for BP's Whiting refinery: some steps in the right direction

Posted September 25, 2013 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, Moving Beyond Oil, U.S. Law and Policy

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The Indiana Department of Environmental Management today issued the final version of the water discharge permit for BP’s Whiting refinery, the draft of which had inadequately addressed the refinery’s mercury discharge to Lake Michigan. Viewed in light of the contentious...continued

NRDC wins Gulf Dead Zone lawsuit against EPA

Posted September 23, 2013 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, U.S. Law and Policy

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The federal district court for the Eastern District of Louisiana late Friday afternoon handed a victory to NRDC and its coalition partners in our challenge to EPA’s refusal to address the pollution-fueled “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico.  The...continued

Chicago Tribune shines light on Indiana's gaping mercury loophole

Posted June 24, 2013 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment

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 In an excellent investigative piece in the Chicago Tribune yesterday, environmental journalist Mike Hawthorne presented the weight of evidence that BP is polluting Lake Michigan with mercury.   Specifically, according to the Trib, the evidence weighs about two pounds a...continued

Fracking legislation passes State Legislature at the eleventh hour

Posted May 31, 2013 by Ann Alexander in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment

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 By an overwhelming margin, the Illinois state legislature has passed SB1715, the legislation putting in place regulations governing high volume fracking.  The House passed the bill yesterday 108 to 9, and the Senate passed it tonight 52 to 3 (with...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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