Policy: Cultivating nonpartisan solutions
The best environmental solutions come from having everyone pitch in, regardless of their political views.
That’s why EDF has long sustained a tradition of supporting bipartisan policy. For example, back in the 1980s, we worked with the Reagan administration to phase out CFCs, chemicals that were destroying the ozone layer.
Case study: Chemical safety reform
Problem: For decades, the primary federal law regulating chemicals used in everyday products was weak and outdated. Our government lacked the ability to regulate even known dangers such as formaldehyde and asbestos.
While most stakeholders agreed the law was broken, there was strong disagreement about how to fix it.
Solution: Over several years, we worked with allies to press for change and with legislators in both parties to advance strong legislation. Each section of the new law is carefully crafted to balance long-standing interests.
Outcome: The Lautenberg Act passed with overwhelming support, and was signed by President Obama in June, 2016.
It fixes the biggest problems with the old law, and gives EPA the legal tools necessary to better ensure the safety of the chemicals that surround us every day.
From the Senate floor, one of the lead negotiators, Sen. Jeff Merkley, said, “I would like to specifically thank the Environmental Defense Fund. … Marshaling expertise; creating a conversation among grassroots proponents; bringing their expertise [and] their insights to bear. Their Lead Senior Scientist, Richard Denison, played an instrumental role in the preparation of this bill.”
A powerful ally: EDF Action
One of our chief allies in securing nonpartisan policy is EDF Action, our advocacy action partner. EDF Action is free to do things that EDF can’t, including unlimited lobbying of Congress. It does this by raising dollars that are not tax deductible.
“Our strategy is even more essential now that the White House and Congress are controlled by different parties,” explains EDF Action President Elizabeth Thompson.
“Lawmakers listen to their supporters, and many in both parties want action on the environment.” See their campaigns.
Ending the climate logjam
EDF does constructive, thoughtful, hard work, and that gains respect—and results.The Hon. George P. Shultz Former U.S. Secretary of State
Instead of the same old arguments about climate change, we’re highlighting the innovative and cost-effective benefits of taking climate action, such as giving families the power to choose clean energy and spurring design competitions to develop inexpensive methane gas detectors for industry.
“We want to rally the public to bring about that change,” says Jeremy Symons, EDF’s Senior Director of Climate Policy. “We believe we can close the gap between where Congress is and where the public is.”
Signs indicate this may be happening, points out EDF’s Keith Gaby, as young voters clamor for climate action, and politicians are increasingly wary of ignoring the reality of climate science.
“The shift in the political landscape is clear,” he says.