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Northwest Environmental Defense Center (NEDC)

Our Work

Our Work

NEDC protects and conserves the natural resources of the Pacific Northwest by enforcing environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act, engaging with government agencies, and tracking federal and state actions in the region. NEDC serves as a watchdog of regulatory agencies and regulated entities and strives to identify and fill advocacy gaps that warrant attention.

Recent Work:

Dirty Diesel in Oregon

NEDC is partnering with Lewis & Clark Law School’s Green Energy Institute on a new project aimed at reducing diesel pollution in Oregon. Increasingly stringent diesel engine phase-out requirements in California and Washington are resulting in dirty diesel dumping in Oregon, and we’re working to make a difference.

Willamette Dams Litigation

 

Highlighting nearly a decade’s worth of missed deadlines, postponed actions, and poor communications from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NEDC is partnering with a coalition of conservation groups that recently sent formal notice to federal water managers of its intent to file suit to protect threatened Willamette River Chinook and steelhead. With only 1-2% of the wild fish’s historical numbers returning to spawn this year, time is of the essence.

NEDC is a co-plaintiff in this effort with the Native Fish Society and WildEarth Guardians. The groups are represented by Lizzy Potter and Laurie Rule of Advocates for the West.

 

 

Past Work:

US Supreme Court Case

 

Columbia River Crossing

 

CWA Dredge and Fill Permits

Industrial Stormwater Permit Litigation

NEDC’s Clean Water Act permit enforcement work can only be effective at reducing water
pollution if the permit terms that we are enforcing are adequately protective. We have long been concerned that Oregon’s industrial stormwater permits are lagging behind neighboring states, and this fall we joined forces with Columbia Riverkeeper in a lawsuit to tighten up limits to protect water quality in Oregon’s 1200-Z stormwater permit. We are represented in this matter by Earthrise Law Center attorneys Jamie Saul and Allison LaPlante, and NEDC board member Karl Anuta.

Port of Vancouver

The final chapter has closed in NEDC, Columbia Riverkeeper, and the Sierra Club’s multi-year lawsuit against the Port of Vancouver, Washington, over a proposal to build what would have been the nation’s largest rail-to-marine oil terminal there.

Read more about this victory here.

 

Ongoing Work: 

Stormwater Enforcement

NEDC has invested considerable resources over the last decade focusing on pollution problems caused by stormwater discharges. The primary tool we use in this effort is tracking and enforcing legal requirements in pollution permits.

 

Article: Seeking Stronger Oversight

Article: Mo’s Mess

Article: NEDC by the Numbers

 

Energy Transport in the Pacific Northwest

Large-scale extraction of coal, oil and gas in the center of North America has made Washington and Oregon ports particularly attractive destinations for transloading proposals that would facilitate the movement of dirty energy sources to markets across the globe. NEDC has been actively engaged to ensure our region’s air and water quality remains protected.  

 

Suction Dredge Mining

Suction dredge mining poses significant risks to Oregon’s natural resources. NEDC works to ensure federal and state regulations are sufficient to protect Oregon’s water quality from the adverse impacts of suction dredge mining. 

Blog: New and Improved Suction Dredge NPDES Permit in Oregon

Blog: Mining in our National Forests deserves greater scrutiny from the U.S. Forest Service 

 

Public Review of State Actions

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality: active public notices

Washington Department of Ecology: public review page