Summary

  • Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is one of the most influential anti-nuclear organizations in the United States with revenues of $158 million in 2016.

  • EDF is actively seeking to replace nuclear plants around the country including in the states of California, New York, Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania with natural gas and renewables.

  • EDF lobbies for subsidies for wind and solar that would directly benefit members of EDF's board of directors.

  • EDF is working alongside the American Petroleum Institute (Big Oil & Natural Gas) to lobby against saving nuclear plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

  • EDF has since the 1970s sought to close nuclear plants directly and indirectly by lobbying for laws including federal subsidies and renewable energy mandates that discriminate against nuclear.

War on Nuclear

Ohio and Pennsylvania

  • EDF attacks efforts to maintain nuclear power plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania:
  • "Dick Munson, director of Midwest Clean Energy, spoke on behalf of the Environmental Defense Fund. He said EDF “often has labeled FirstEnergy’s pleading as ‘subsidies’ or ‘bailouts,’ but perhaps an even more accurate term is a ‘tax on ratepayers.’ ” 

New Jersey

California

  • EDF supports prematurely shutting down California's last nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon, claiming  the"phase-out of the Diablo Canyon nuclear facility is good for Californians and firmly supports the state’s clean energy future. By making this commitment, PG&E confirms California customers will be better – and more affordably – served by a mix of clean energy resources, including renewable energy and energy efficiency."
  • EDF has gone on to greenwash its advocacy by falsely claiming it can be replaced by intermittent renewables like solar and wind, demand response, and batteries. 

New York

  • EDF supports prematurely shutting down New York's largest and highly profitable nuclear plant, Indian Point, claiming, "The plan to close Indian Point will ensure that the electric system remains stable without increasing pollution and will secure the health and welfare of millions living and working in the Tri-State area."
  • In fact, Indian Point will be replaced with significant quantities of natural gas according to experts, business groups, and New York's grid operator.

Hypocrisy

  • Meanwhile, EDF promotes subsidies for renewables that are far larger than the ones for nuclear.
  • Here's Dick Munson again: "With the state's renewable and efficiency standards back in place, Ohio can reclaim its spot as a clean energy leader, clearing the way for well-paying jobs, millions in investment, and healthier air for all."
  • In 2017, New Jersey ratepayers spent almost $600 million to generate just 2.8 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity from solar — a program EDF lobbied for and supports. By contrast, the proposed nuclear subsidy would cost $300 million per year to generate 28 TWh of electricity. And while the nuclear plants are paid only if market conditions require it, solar investors get paid no matter what.
  • Thanks to Illinois legislation advocated by EDF, ratepayers have been spending fifteen times more per unit of energy for Solar Renewable Energy Certificates than for nuclear’s new Zero Emission Certificates.
  • Under Illinois’s new program, a nuclear subsidy was combined with a much more costly renewables program. Compare nuclear’s $235 million per year for 24 TWh of electricity from nuclear to at least $200 million per year for just four TWh of electricity by 2020 from wind and solar under the new Renewable Portfolio Standard.
  • Thanks to New York legislation lobbied for by EDF, ratepayers will spend $482 million per year for 27 TWh of electricity from nuclear, at a rate of $17.48 per MWh. By contrast, New York and federal subsidies for rooftop solar are more than 10 times higher: $190 per MWh.
  • EDF lobbied to close Indian Point, New York’s largest nuclear plant, which needs no subsidy. It produces power for under $40 per MWh. And yet Gov. Cuomo has sought to shut it down at the urging of the Sierra Club, NRDC, EDF, and a natural gas company implicated in the federal criminal prosecution of a Cuomo aide.
  • Indian Point’s replacement power is expected to come from new gas plants and renewables that typically cost $100 per MWh —  and increase carbon emissions from electricity production by nearly 30 percent.

Conflicts of Interest

EDF's governing board of trustees and its advisory trustees includes, or has included in the recent past, many more investors and executives from the energy sector broadly and oil, gas, and renewables specifically than from other industries.

They include: