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Johanna Wald, Senior Attorney, San Francisco

Johanna Wald

I grew up in the East, and was never any further West than Ithaca, NY, until my second year in law school. That summer I made my first trip West and fell in love with its wilderness areas, stunning landscapes and wonderful wildlife. Two years later, we moved to northern California where I've lived ever since. I have been incredibly lucky to spend my entire professional career at NRDC, beginning in 1972 as a part-timer, when my kids were little, and then graduating to a full timer as they got older. All of my work has focused on protecting the West's special places -- especially its federal public lands. I am now working to help the West respond effectively to the climate crisis and specifically to ensure that the region's renewable energy resources get developed in a way that protects our wildlands and wildlife. When I'm asked how it is that I've been able to do this work for so long, I always say it's because of the places I've fallen in love with along the way and the incredible people I've gotten to meet and work with over the years.

Recent Posts

Court of Appeals Rules Against Oyster Company, Protecting West Coast's Only Marine Wilderness Area

Posted September 9, 2013 by Johanna Wald in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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September is “Wilderness Month” and so it is fitting that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave wilderness lovers a celebratory gift on the 49th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, September 3rd. The gift came wrapped in a decision...continued

Solar Development in California: Preserving our Climate while Protecting our Lands

Posted April 6, 2012 by Johanna Wald in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, Solving Global Warming

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Expanding solar development in California in a way that meets our clean energy needs while preserving our wildlands and wildlife is no small task.  And it's not without controversy. Coming to the table is not necessarily a bad thing. In...continued

NRDC Greenlights Two Solar Projects in California

Posted April 6, 2012 by Johanna Wald in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, Solving Global Warming

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After careful review, I’m excited to say that two proposed California solar projects are up to snuff. This week, NRDC joined the Audubon California, Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club in supporting the Mount Signal and the Calexico I...continued

Many Wind and Solar Projects on Public Lands Get It Right, Calico Doesn't

Posted April 5, 2012 by Johanna Wald in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, Solving Global Warming

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With nearly 200,000 Americans receiving paychecks from the wind and solar industries today, it’s clear that continuing to tap America’s clean energy potential will deliver enormous benefits for our economy as well as our climate and environment. We just have...continued

Clearing Up the Record on Solar Energy on Public Lands

Posted February 10, 2012 by Johanna Wald in Curbing Pollution, Moving Beyond Oil, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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This week, Los Angeles Times published the first article of a long-awaited series about the impacts of large scale-solar projects on the Mojave Desert. Unfortunately, the first story failed to provide a fully accurate picture of the reality and efforts...continued

Moving Forward with a Balanced Approach to Solar Development on Public Lands

Posted October 24, 2011 by Johanna Wald in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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Secretary of Interior Department Ken Salazar this week is expected to announce an important milestone towards adopting a program for managing solar energy development on public lands in the West. The Department Interior and the Bureau of Land Management will...continued

Interior Must Improve Permitting Process so Development Goes Ahead in the Right Places

Posted January 21, 2011 by Johanna Wald in Solving Global Warming

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As my colleague, Leila Monroe of NRDC’s Oceans Program has blogged, the Interior Department has been very busy recently when it comes to renewable energy – both on and offshore. Earlier this week, Secretary Ken Salazar was blogging about the...continued

NRDC approves first solar project: Lucerne Valley Project

Posted August 17, 2010 by Johanna Wald in Curbing Pollution, Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, Solving Global Warming

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We share exciting news this week as environmental groups, including NRDC, support our first utility scale solar energy project – the Lucerne Valley Solar Project near Victorville in San Bernardino County. This is the first solar power project, and the...continued

Hard Choices and Trade-Offs

Posted July 28, 2010 by Johanna Wald in Moving Beyond Oil, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, Solving Global Warming

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Is there any word more laden with catch phrases than “change?”  We are told it is inevitable. That it is necessary. That it is hard. All this smacks of cliché, of course—but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. We are...continued

Transmission Planning Must be Improved

Posted May 4, 2009 by Johanna Wald in Moving Beyond Oil, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, Solving Global Warming

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On February 7, 2009, the New York Times carried a story on the obstacles facing new transmission lines. According to the story, the Interior Department took a year to approve one line "crossing a wild river and required a $5...continued

Developing New Energy Right

Posted April 27, 2009 by Johanna Wald in Moving Beyond Oil, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, Solving Global Warming

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The West's renewable energy resource potential is huge. According to the Western Electricity Coordinating Council the wind potential alone exceeds the total U.S. energy demand.  According to National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the solar potential of the southwest is more than...continued

Siting Decisions Will Require Still More Information

Posted April 22, 2009 by Johanna Wald in Moving Beyond Oil, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, Solving Global Warming

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NRDC's new Google Earth layer does an unprecedented job of identifying places where renewable energy development is inappropriate.  But it's important to recognize the limitations of what we've done.  We have not - I repeat not - greenlighted any lands...continued

Finding Lands to Avoid

Posted April 13, 2009 by Johanna Wald in Moving Beyond Oil

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The citizens of this country own millions of acres of land that are managed on our behalf by federal agencies.  Millions of other publicly-owned acres are managed by state agencies. The federal lands in particular include places that are world...continued

Finding the Path to Green Energy

Posted April 6, 2009 by Johanna Wald in Moving Beyond Oil, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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Until recently I've spent my entire career at NRDC - more than 30 years! - advocating for protection of America's public lands from damaging human activities like coal mining, oil and gas drilling, road building and the like. Yet, for...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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