The Environment America Policy and Research Center is a environmentalist think tank and issue advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. It is the sister organization of Environment America, a 501(c)(4) left-of-center advocacy organization that is comprised of many state level organizations and promotes environmentalist policies. Both Environment American and the Environment America Policy and Research Center grew out of the Public Interest Research Groups (U.S. PIRG), a network of left-of-center advocacy organizations founded by Ralph Nader. Both organizations operate as member organizations in the Public Interest Network and receive funding from the Fund for the Public Interest, both affiliated with far left policies, liberal funding streams, and employing hundreds of young left-wing activist canvassers who knock doors to raise money for the groups.
The research of the organization is divided among program areas which focus on water quality issues, reducing carbon emissions, prohibiting natural gas exploration, and promoting subsidies for environmentalist-approved sources of energy. All of these programs support left of center policies and many reports encourage state, local, and federal subsidies of environmentalist power companies, including solar energy companies.
The organization also points to several victories won on its website. Three of the four outcomes on their “results” page came to be with the help of the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency temporarily banning mining near the Grand Canyon, expanding Clean Water Act regulations in a move that critics called invasive to property rights, as well as enacting standards requiring carmakers’ fleets of vehicles to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
Also see Doug Phelps
The chairman and president of Environment America Policy and Research Center is Doug Phelps, who simultaneously holds a number of positions in the progressive movement including president of the Public Interest Network. His titles include founder, president, and executive director of The Public Interest Network; chairman of the National Association of Organizations in the Public Interest (NAOPI); U.S. PIRG president and board chairman; CALPIRG president and board chairman; Environment America president and board chairman; Fund for the Public Interest advisory board chairman; Change Corps board chairman; Green Corps board chairman; National Environmental Law Center board member; Green Century Capital Management board member; Progress Now interim board chairman; Grassroots Campaigns, Inc. CEO; and Telefund, Inc. president.
Association with the Public Interest Network
Both Environment American and the Environment America Research and Policy Center are part of the Public Interest Network, a collection of left wing environmental groups. The groups within the Public Interest Network share staff and according to the networks website, all staffers of the various groups are in reality staffers of the Public Interest Network, giving the one organization control of 16 other organizations and all of their state chapters. This allows the groups to work in sync and share the same message.
Many former staffers of the Public Interest Network have expressed displeasure with the Public Interest Network (of which Environment America Research and Policy Center is a part) and Doug Phelps for the Network’s high-turnover workplace culture. Public Interest Network has been accused of paying its entry-level left-wing activist employees very low wages.
Phelps and his network opposed a change to the federal overtime rule proposal backed by liberals and the Obama administration that would have raised the salary threshold required to be an employee exempt from time-and-a-half overtime rules. The decision indicated that the network would be adversely affected by the rule because it pays low wages and requires more than 40-hour workweeks. A number of former Network staff reorganized to sign a litter asking the network to reevaluate its position; Phelps sent all network “alumni” a letter responding to the effort which was denounced as an “unprofessional and sarcastic response [that] manifests the extraordinary amount of disdain he has for his entry-level staff—the hundreds of recent college grads his organizations exploit and burn through to put millions of dollars in his pocket.”
Public Interest Network members “include state Public Interest Research Groups, U.S. PIRG, state environmental groups in 29 states, Environment America, Environmental Action, Center for Public Interest Research, Toxics Action Center, Pesticide Watch, Green Century Capital Management, Green Corps, National Environmental Law Center, Frontier Group, Community Voters Project, Snowriders International, Accelerate Change, Voices for Progress, Impact and Bold Alliance.”