The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a New York City-based, non-profit, non-partisan international environmental advocacy group, with offices in Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Beijing. Founded in 1970, NRDC today has 1.3 million members and online activists nationwide and a staff of more than 300 lawyers, scientists and other policy experts.
Worth magazine has named NRDC one of America's 100 best charities, Charity Navigator has given NRDC four out of four stars as of 2007, and the Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau reports that NRDC meets its highest standards for accountability and use of donor funds.
The NRDC was co-founded in 1970 by John Adams, Gus Speth, John Bryson and a group of concerned law students and attorneys at the forefront of the environmental movement. The organization lobbies Congress and other public officials for a public policy that promotes conservation of the natural and built environment. The NRDC works against urban sprawl, pollution, and habitat destruction, and promotes actions to mitigate global warming and increase the use of renewable energy. It also sometimes files suit in federal court against corporations and government agencies for violations of the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act. Other operations carried out by the NRDC include public education and sponsorship of scientific studies.
In 2001, NRDC launched the BioGems Initiative to mobilize concerned individuals in defense of exceptional and imperiled ecosystems. The initiative matches NRDC's legal and institutional expertise with the work of citizen activists.
It has issued a report on the health effects arising from the September 11, 2001 attacks.
NRDC was also one of the only major national environmental organisations to become and stay involved with community activists on the ground in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
The NRDC has also published a number of studies on nuclear weapon stockpiles around the world, both as monographs and as individual studies in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
In December 2006, Green Day and NRDC jointly launched a website to raise awareness on the U.S.'s petroleum dependence. The NRDC takes the position that new nuclear power plants are not a solution for America's energy needs, or for addressing global warming.
NRDC runs a number of environmental programs:
The Air/Energy Program focuses on clean air, global warming, transportation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and electric-industry restructuring. This includes the Renewable Energy and Defense Database project with the Pentagon.
The Health Program works on issues involving drinking water, chemical harm to the environment, and other environmental health threats with the goal of reducing the amount of toxins released into the environment.
The International Program works worldwide on rainforests, biodiversity, habitat preservation, oceans, marine life, nuclear weapons and global warming, often in conjunction with other programs.
The Land Program works on issues related to national forests, parks, other public lands, and private forest lands, and works to reduce consumption of wood products.
The Nuclear Program analyzes developments on a variety of nuclear weapon issues.
The Urban Program focuses on environmental issues in urban centers and surrounding areas. Issues include air and water quality, garbage and recycling, transportation, sprawl, and environmental justice.
The Water and Oceans Program works on issues related to the nation's water quality, fish populations, wetlands and oceans. It also operates regional initiatives such as the Everglades, San Francisco Bay, the San Joaquin River, the Channel Islands of California, and the New York/New Jersey Harbor-Bight.
The Latino Outreach Program or La Onda Verde de NRDC works to inform and involve Spanish-speaking Latinos in the environmental issues on which NRDC works. 
In July 2008, the NRDC and Robert Kennedy Jr. launched a direct mail campaign to encourage citizens to voice opposition to Shell Oil's exploration for oil off the Alaska coast.
OnEarth magazine is a quarterly publication of the NRDC that looks at environmental challenges from a variety of perspectives.
Frances Beinecke is the current President. Peter Lehner is the Executive Director. On June 14, 2010, Beinecke was appointed by Barack Obama to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Deron Lovaas is the vehicles campaign director.
Dr. Allen Hershkowitz is Senior Scientist.
 Effect on administrative law
The NRDC has been involved in some of the most important Supreme Court cases interpreting United States administrative law. Most of these decisions came out against the NRDC. See, for example:
Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 435 U.S. 519 (1978), which held that courts could not impose additional procedural requirements on administrative agencies beyond that required by the agency's organic statute or the Administrative Procedure Act.
Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984), which gave administrative agencies broad discretion to interpret statute to make policy changes if Congressional intent was unclear. Chevron is now the most-cited case in American case law, even more so than all the citations to famous decisions such as Marbury v. Madison, Brown v. Board of Education, and Roe v. Wade combined.
Baltimore Gas & Elec. Co. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 462 U.S. 78 (1983) is a United States Supreme Court decision which held that a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) rule that, during the licensing of nuclear power plants, the permanent storage of nuclear waste should be assumed to have no environmental impact was valid.