Head of major environmental lobby steps down

Head of major environmental lobby steps down

The head of one of the nation’s largest environmental groups is resigning after four years at its helm.

The Natural Resources Defense Council said Monday that Rhea Suh, its president since 2015, will leave at the end of June. The group will start looking for a replacement soon.

“It has been an honor to lead NRDC over the past four incredible years,” Suh said in a statement.

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“Working with colleagues who are dedicated to the organization’s mission and to protecting our planet has been deeply inspiring. NRDC’s staff, members, online activists, and partners are all focused on the mission of safeguarding the earth so that our children inherit a planet that sustains them in the future.”

Alan Horn, chairman of the group’s board of trustees, said she’s been a very valuable asset.

“Rhea’s strategic vision and savvy has been an enormous asset not only to NRDC, but to the global environmental movement,” he said. “Under her leadership, NRDC has made its voice heard during critical moments in our country’s fight to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment.”

NRDC has existed for decades, and is one of the biggest spenders on federal lobbying among United States green groups. It spent $891,234 lobbying last year, the most of any comprehensive environmental group except the Environmental Defense Fund, according to figures gathered by the Center for Responsive Politics.

In the last two years, NRDC has been a leader in judicial fights against the Trump administration’s attempts to roll back environmental regulations. The group said it has achieved victories in 22 of the 28 court cases challenging Trump administration rollbacks or delays that have been resolved.

NRDC is also a major campaign spender, supporting candidates with progressive environmental agendas through its affiliate NRDC Action Fund.

Prior to NRDC, President Obama had nominated Suh to be assistant secretary of the Interior for fish, wildlife and parks. But Senate Republicans held up her nomination, arguing that her past work at groups like the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation showed her to be an anti-fossil fuel extremist.

NRDC did not say what plans, if any, Suh has for when she leaves the group.