Annie Notthoff, Environmental Champion

Jun 1, 2015

The following remarks were made about and by CLCV Environmental Leadership Award recipient Annie Notthoff on May 28, 2015.

Tom Adams, former Chair of the Board, CLCV:

Annie Notthoff is Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's California Advocacy program in San Francisco and has been a member of the CLCV Board of Directors for more than 20 years. Annie has had a remarkable career as an environmental advocate.  She has been particularly effective in many areas, but first let’s look at her leadership on climate policy.

· 2002, AB 1493 - First law regulating greenhouse gas emissions from cars. Now a national rule by Obama administration that increased fuel efficiency nationwide

· 2006, AB 32 - First economy wide cap on GHG emissions in the world.

· 2007, SB 1368 – Clean fuels for power plants.  The Obama Administration is currently proposing a national clean power plant rule based in part on this bill.

· 2008, SB 375(Steinberg) - First law linking transportation and land use with climate change.

· 2011, SB 1X 2  Renewable portfolio standard, CA commits to 33% renewable energy by 2020.

· 2014, SB 1275 (DeLeón) Charge Ahead bill to expand clean transportation opportunities and bring social equity to climate policy.

These 6 bills together make California a global leader in climate policy. In addition, in 2010, when oil companies sought to repeal AB 32 in the midst of the recession, Annie was on the Steering Committee for the campaign that defeated Proposition 23.

During this time, Annie also carried the coastal advocacy portfolio for NRDC including:

· Adoption of stronglocal coastal plans in Big Sur, Mendocino County, San Mateo County and elsewhere.

· An integrated campaign against offshore oil drilling.

· Enactment in  1999 of the Marine Life Protection Act – first network of marine reserves in the country, model for other state and federal action by presidents Bush and Obama.

· Enactment in 2004 of California Ocean Protection Act, first state in the nation to to integrate ocean management agencies.

· Served on the Steering Committees for Props 12 and 13 which secured, $4+ b of bonds for clean water and parks

· 2009 Senator Steinberg’s historic water policy reform package making ecosystem restoration and water supply coequal goals

Obviously Annie did not do all these things herself.  She is supported by a highly talented team at NRDC. We are lucky to have very capable environmental advocates in California who also played important roles. CLCV provided key political support. Annie was able to work with a wide range of elected officials who cast the key votes or signed the bills.

Annie plays a crucial role on a wide range of key issues. Around the country, we are fortunate that there are so many capable environmental advocates.

But, if you look at the track record of accomplishments, Annie Notthoff probably has the greatest record of environmental accomplishments of any environmental advocate in the country.

On the key issue of climate, we are not only in the fight of our lives.  We are fighting for the life of the planet itself.  We are fighting against a titanic foe in the $25 trillion fossil fuel industry.

But I did not casually describe the industry as titanic. We will win the fight, despite the odds, because of the vision, courage and advocacy skill of the people in this room and in rooms like this around the country and around the world.

When that fight is won and historians look back, they will see that climate policy in California was a beacon for other governments demonstrating that clean energy, prosperity and social equity are mutually reinforcing policies. When they do that, they will be looking at the legacy of tonight’s honoree, Annie Notthoff.

Annie Notthoff, Environmental Leadership Award Recipient, CLCV Board Member, and California Advocacy Director, NRDC:

You know, my mother taught me that “you can get an awful lot done, if you don’t care about who gets the credit” and I’ve found that, along with so many things I learned from her and my father (who’s here tonight) to be so true. But it does feel pretty good to be recognized by the people I’ve had the honor of working alongside  for so long.  And it means a lot to have so many friends and family here. Having love at home – Dwight, Mary, Sam – makes it a lot easier to wrestle with issues at work. I could never have done any of those things Tom Adams claims I did, without my family’s support.

It’s a treat to work here in California, a place where we welcome and empower people from all over the world and where we are showing how a strong economy and clean environment go hand in hand. We set the pace on so many environmental and public health initiatives – from tackling climate change to protecting our coast and ocean to demanding a safer food supply. We can’t stop climate chaos all by ourselves, but we can design models that work and can be adapted around the world. That’s exactly what’s happening, in China, in Mexico and beyond. 

Getting stuff done here in a state the size of California takes a lot of the people. And it starts from the ground up. I learned that early on in my coastal organizing days. The reason our state policy makers can be bold is because the voters demand bold answers. They demand action.

CLCV is the only one at the intersection of good environmental policy and political reality. The work we do, standing up to millions of dollars of polluter money – it’s tough, but it’s fun, too, fun because of the friends you meet along the way, the people who band together, bringing different views, different skills, from different places, but working in common purpose.

And when we get down, we lean on each other. I’ve been lucky to work with the best. Coastal activists are second to none in their passion. NRDC’s deep bench of knowledge is unrivaled. Sacramento advocates know every rope.  California legislative staff literally wrote the book. Our air, coast and water agencies are world leaders. Our Congressional delegation rocks. We can stand up for clean air, clean water, healthy food, healthy children – because that’s what Californians want. And they make that clear – in poll after poll, election after election.

Giving voice to California’s environmental majority is what CLCV is really all about. And that majority is growing, growing in every corner and every community in California. Look how far we’ve come – we now have a State Legislature led by strong environmentalists, giving voice to new constituencies. 

Nothing gives me more hope than to see today’s young environmental leaders – leaders like Lisa Hoyos, Victoria Rome, Sarah Rose, Roger Kim, Linda Escalante, Vien Truong, Amanda Eaken, Francesca Koe, Parin Shah, Simon Mui, Alex Jackson Roland Hwang and many more – you know who you are.

I have no doubt that with your help, California will continue to lead the way. Thank you for all you do, and for what you will do.



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