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Frances Beinecke, President of NRDC, New York City

Frances Beinecke
I am the president of NRDC. I started here in 1973, just a few years after John Adams and a handful of other wildly dedicated people founded this organization. Back then, there were about a dozen people in the country practicing environmental law, and most of them worked at NRDC. The whole concept of writing laws and public policy to protect the Earth was brand new, and it was thrilling to be a part of it at that early point.

I came to NRDC with a background in environmental studies and a strong desire to help protect the Northeastern forests and wild Western landscapes I loved so much. I started as an intern working to preserve forests through careful land use planning. But when the 1970s oil crisis unleashed a drive to open the Atlantic Ocean to oil and gas drilling, I advocated for stronger safeguards for marine life. I left NRDC for a few years when my three daughters were young, and I came back as the group’s first executive director. In 2006, I became president, and I remain honored and awed to lead this remarkable institution.

And I love my job. First of all, I get to work with some of the best minds in the business. And second, I love that NRDC is all about finding solutions. I am a pragmatic person and an optimist, and I believe that most of the challenges facing the Earth can be solved with the right combination of passion, policy, and technology. With this job, I get to see many of those solutions firsthand--from wind farms off the coast of Denmark to marine reserves around California’s Channel Islands to green buildings in China--and work to bring them to more landscapes and more people.

Recent Posts

Four Years after BP Oil Disaster Many Lessons Remain Unlearned

Posted April 18, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Moving Beyond Oil, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, U.S. Law and Policy

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Four years ago this weekend, the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, killing 11 men and sending 170 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.  I flew over the site after the blowout and was stunned by the vast reach...continued

Powerful New Showtime Series Tells the Story of Life in the Age of Climate Change

Posted April 10, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Solving Global Warming

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In Years of Living Dangerously, a new series starting this Sunday, Nelly Montez describes the day she and 2,300 of her neighbors lost their jobs at a Cargill meat packing plant in Plainview, Texas. The plant closed last January after...continued

ALEC and Big Polluters Try to Attack Limits on Climate Change Pollution One State at a Time

Posted March 28, 2014 by Frances Beinecke

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Last week the Kentucky legislature passed a bill to undermine national standards to reduce climate change pollution. The bill would prop up the profits of Kentucky’s biggest polluters while saddling ordinary Kentuckians with higher electricity bills. A coal-friendly bill may...continued

Cleaning Up Climate Change Polluting Is Cheaper and Easier than We Thought

Posted March 21, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Solving Global Warming

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This week another group of esteemed scientists said that climate change poses a dire threat to our communities. New evidence also confirmed that one of the best tools for defusing this threat is within reach. On Thursday NRDC released a...continued

While Some Lawmakers Offer Outdated Ideas for Drought, California Proves Power of Water Efficiency

Posted March 17, 2014 by Frances Beinecke

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A few weeks ago, I got to see Californians experience something they hadn’t in a long time: a downpour.  It was a welcome gift, but it wasn’t enough. Even with the wet weather, roughly 90 percent of California is still...continued

A Quarter of the Senate Will Stand Up for Climate Action All Night Long

Posted March 10, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Solving Global Warming

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It’s time for Congress to wake up to the threat of climate change, and tonight it will hear a powerful alarm bell. At least 25 Senators will hold the Senate floor through the night and call for national climate action....continued

New Pierce Brosnan Video Reveals Navy's Plan to Harm Whales

Posted February 19, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Reviving the World's Oceans, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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Every spring I travel to Mexico and sit in a fishing boat while massive gray whales slide through the water around me. The warm salty seas of Laguna San Ignacio attract gray whales that come to calve and nurse their...continued

Climate Change Hits Home with Another Round of Extreme Weather Events in 2013

Posted February 7, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Solving Global Warming

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I just returned from California and was struck by how devastating the state’s drought has become. People talked about it everywhere I went, wondering what it means for people and the economy. I can see why they are worried. Last...continued

State Department Confirms Keystone XL Fails President's Own Climate Test

Posted February 3, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Moving Beyond Oil, Solving Global Warming

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The State Department released its review of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline for tar sands oil on Friday. Industry representatives tried to gloss over the conclusions right out of the gate. But there is no hiding from the facts. The...continued

Victory for the Arctic Ocean: No Drilling Next Summer or Maybe Ever

Posted January 31, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Moving Beyond Oil, Reviving the World's Oceans, Solving Global Warming

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The wild Arctic Ocean just got a blast of good news. Yesterday Shell Oil bowed to the inevitable and announced it will not be drilling for oil off the coast of Alaska this summer. Now the region’s coastal villages and...continued

We Are All Better for Representative Henry Waxman's Work

Posted January 30, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Health and the Environment, Solving Global Warming

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All Americans have benefited from the dedicated service of Representative Henry Waxman. In every battle and in every moment that mattered most, Rep. Waxman stood up for the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the wild places we...continued

Obama Reaffirms Commitment to Climate Action in State of the Union

Posted January 29, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Moving Beyond Oil, Solving Global Warming

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President Obama forcefully reaffirmed his commitment to curbing carbon pollution in the State of the Union Address last night.  He said unequivocally that climate change poses significant threats to our environment, our health, and our economy. “Climate change is a...continued

New Survey Finds Latinos Overwhelmingly Support Climate Action

Posted January 23, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Solving Global Warming

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Nine in ten Latinos want the nation to take action to protect future generations from the dangers of climate change, according to a poll NRDC released on Thursday. Specifically eight in ten want President Obama to reduce the carbon pollution...continued

GRAMMYs Honor Carole King for Protecting Wild Places

Posted January 21, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, Solving Global Warming

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Many people know Carole King as one of America’s best songwriters and performers, but over the years I have had the opportunity to see another side of Carole: the dedicated environmental advocate. This part of Carole’s illustrious career is about...continued

Major Investors Dump Pebble Mine, Time to Abandon Project Once and For All

Posted January 14, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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A few weeks ago, mining giant Rio Tinto said it was considering pulling out of the disastrous Pebble Mine proposed for Alaska’s Bristol Bay. This came on the heels of the September announcement that Anglo American—the 50 percent owner of...continued

About

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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