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Steve Fleischli, Director of Water Program & Senior Attorney, Santa Monica, CA

Steve Fleischli
I grew up in Nebraska, and I’ve held many jobs in my life, from flipping burgers, to detasseling corn, to being a bungee jumping instructor (aka “elastician”). However, I have found I am most fulfilled when working on issues relating to water, and I have been focused professionally in that arena since 1996, where my work has taken me across the United States and around the world. Now, as the NRDC Water Program Director, I work with an amazing team striving to ensure that water is safe and sufficient for people and the environment.

Recent Posts

Reflections on World Water Week

Posted September 9, 2014 by Steve Fleischli

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Last week, I attended World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. At international conferences like this, one can feel somewhat overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problems facing humanity, particularly when presented with these oft-cited statistics:  800 million people on the...continued

Are You as Water Smart as Conan O'Brien?

Posted August 5, 2014 by Steve Fleischli

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Conan O’Brien, Andy Richter, NRDC, and the State of California have teamed up to create a new series of very funny Public Service Announcements to encourage water conservation during California’s historic drought.  This new partnership follows the debut of Conan’s first...continued

Time to End the Quagmire over Quagmires

Posted March 13, 2014 by Steve Fleischli

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People who care about clean water -- parents, hunters and anglers, brewers and anyone who likes to go for a swim or turn on a tap and enjoy a cool drink – are telling EPA and the Obama Administration that...continued

Feinstein Drought Bill: The Right Approach, but the Language Must Reflect the Intent

Posted February 12, 2014 by Steve Fleischli

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This week, Senators Feinstein and Boxer of California and Wyden and Merkley of Oregon introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate designed “to help California and Oregon farmers, businesses and communities suffering from historic drought conditions.” NRDC deeply appreciates these Senators recognizing...continued

As Obama Heads to Drought-Stricken California, Many Solutions Await

Posted February 11, 2014 by Steve Fleischli

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Some very important people – President Obama among them – will convene in California this week with a singular goal: to help Californians as we endure the drought.  On Friday, President Obama will visit Fresno to highlight federal drought-relief efforts. ...continued

How EPA Could Ruin Your Summer Vacation

Posted June 26, 2013 by Steve Fleischli

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More than 180 million people visit coastal and Great Lakes beaches every year, and swimming and surfing are favorite pastimes in the United States. But—as is highlighted in NRDC’s 23rd Annual Testing the Waters Report—closings due to hazardous pollution remain...continued

Our Lagging Preparedness for Public Health Emergencies

Posted December 21, 2012 by Steve Fleischli

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When Hurricane Sandy comes up in public conversations these days, it’s often in the context of Congress arguing about how much money should be allocated to deal with the devastating impacts. No surprise, there’s a lot of partisan posturing. What...continued

Los Angeles County Water Pollution and the U.S. Supreme Court

Posted November 30, 2012 by Steve Fleischli

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In their Oscar-winning song, Burt Bacharach and Hal David got it all wrong: Raindrops keep fallin' on my headBut that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turnin' red Cryin's not for me Cause I'm never gonna stop the rain...continued

Disaster Planning: An Opportunity to Prepare for the Impacts of Climate Change

Posted October 2, 2012 by Steve Fleischli

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Fall may have arrived, but it hasn’t brought an end to the great drought of 2012. My home state of Nebraska has been hit hard, with nearly 98 percent of the state still experiencing extreme or exceptional drought. Friends and...continued

Most Drought States Don't Have Comprehensive Plans to Address Climate Change's Impact on Water

Posted July 30, 2012 by Steve Fleischli

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There can be no doubt that the current drought in the U.S. is having horrific impacts on communities across the country.  Water supplies are shrinking.  Crops are dying.  And, due to the drought, 1,234 U.S. counties have been declared natural...continued

Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee To Hold Hearing on Sea Level Rise

Posted April 18, 2012 by Steve Fleischli

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Tomorrow’s Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee hearing on sea level rise provides a good opportunity for elected officials to hear firsthand about the risks to U.S. infrastructure due to sea level rise.  Among those testifying will be Ben Strauss...continued

Texas Lags Behind Most States When It Comes to Preparing for Climate Change

Posted April 5, 2012 by Steve Fleischli

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In the last few months, rainfall has provided some much-needed relief from drought conditions that have ravaged Texas over the past year, when the state experienced six of the 10 largest wildfires in Texas history.  Even with the welcomed rain,...continued

EPA Proposal Allows 1 in 28 People to get Sick at U.S. Beaches

Posted January 30, 2012 by Steve Fleischli

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A new EPA proposal to address pollution at U.S. beaches allows 1 in 28 people to get sick when they go to the beach.  Imagine a school fieldtrip to the beach – for every large conventional school bus, nearly three...continued

Ten Water-related Things to be Thankful for This Thanksgiving

Posted November 21, 2011 by Steve Fleischli

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Family.  A job.  Good health.  Freedom.  All these things are certainly worthy of appreciation any time of year. But this Thanksgiving I’m thinking about all the amazing ways in which water makes life better – ways that are perhaps so...continued

Scientists Say Climate Change is Contributing to More Extreme Weather Now

Posted September 7, 2011 by Steve Fleischli

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Recently, NRDC published a report explaining the potential water-related impacts of climate change on U.S. cities.  The projected impacts include, among other things, more frequent and intense storm events.  Now, some scientists say the effects of climate change are already contributing...continued


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