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National Environmental Trust to Join The Pew Charitable Trusts Environment Group

Published 05-15-07

Submitted by Pew Environment Group

WASHINGTON, D.C. - May 15, 2007 - The Pew Charitable Trusts and the National Environmental Trust (NET) announced today that they have reached agreement in principle to merge the staff and operations of NET and Pew's Environment Program.

The consolidated team, to be called the Pew Environment Group, will have a domestic and international staff of more than 80 and estimated annual operating revenue of approximately $70 million, making it one of the nation's largest environmental scientific and advocacy organizations. The Environment Group will have an initial presence across the United States as well as in Canada, Europe, Australia, the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Latin America. Pew and NET set a target date of December 2007 to finalize the agreement and begin their joint operations.

"Our environmental efforts have delivered major successes over the past 20 years, but threats to the global environment have grown exponentially," Rebecca W. Rimel, president of The Pew Charitable Trusts, said today. "To better respond to the problems of global warming and the world’s rapidly deteriorating marine and terrestrial systems, we have been making major adjustments to our work, and this is one step in that process. We are delighted that the experienced and talented staff of the National Environmental Trust has agreed to join with us to address the critical environmental challenges we face," she said.

Pew's Environment Program works to advance environmental policy by supporting top-level scientific research; building, assisting and coordinating broad coalitions of organizations representing diverse constituencies concerned about environmental protection in the United States and abroad; and making strategic investments in strengthening the capacity of environmental groups to achieve shared policy goals. The staff is composed of scientists, attorneys, public policy experts and campaign professionals.

NET, founded 13 years ago, has built an experienced staff of public policy and campaign professionals that has played a central role in both U.S. environmental policy debates and international treaty negotiations. The organization has domestic operations in 18 states and a Washington-based staff specializing in media and communications, government relations and field organizing. It hosts a number of coalitions made up of environmental organizations working on issues ranging from protecting U.S. national forests to international fisheries conservation.

Dr. Joshua S. Reichert, who has directed Pew's Environment Program since 1990, will serve as managing director of the Pew Environment Group. Philip E. Clapp, NET’s president since its founding in 1994, will become the deputy managing director, overseeing day-to-day operations, policy development and strategic planning with Dr. Reichert. Thomas A. Wathen, NET executive vice president and general counsel, will become deputy director, and will be joined in that capacity by Kathleen A. Welch, currently deputy director of Pew’s Environment Program.

The Pew Environment Group will combine science, policy, campaign and advocacy expertise to reduce the scope and severity of three major global environmental problems:

  • dramatic changes to the Earth's climate caused by the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the planet's atmosphere;

  • the erosion of large wilderness ecosystems that contain a great part of the world's remaining biodiversity; and

  • the destruction of the world's oceans, with a particular emphasis on global fisheries.

    "Combining our staffs and operations represents an enormous opportunity to increase our collective impact on the world’s most challenging environmental problems," Mr. Clapp said. "Our two organizations work largely in the same fields of environmental protection, and have complementary policy and advocacy skills. All of us believe that the next decade will be critical on virtually every issue on which we work "“ global warming, marine protection, and conservation of the world’s remaining wilderness areas. The Pew Environment Group will work with and assist other organizations in the United States and elsewhere in the world, providing both expertise and resources that will make all of our efforts more successful. This merger will better equip us and others to protect the world’s natural heritage in the years ahead."

    "We have reached a critical moment in our history with the natural world," said Dr. Reichert. "For years, scientists have been warning of the potentially devastating impacts of human activity on the land, the Earth’s atmosphere and the sea. The good news is there is a growing sense of urgency that has gripped the public, and governments throughout the world are waking up to the problems we face. We have a rather narrow window of time to address these problems and a corresponding opportunity to reverse course and begin to more sensibly manage our relationship with nature. This merger will make us more effective at serving the public’s strong interest in protecting the environment, and will help us to improve the collective ability of organizations in this country and abroad to better address global problems that no single organization can successfully tackle on its own."

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