Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification

Environmental Law and Policy Center of the Midwest

aka ELPC

Chicago, IL

Mission

The Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) is the Midwest’s leading public interest environmental legal advocacy organization. We develop and lead successful strategic environmental advocacy campaigns to protect our natural resources and improve environmental quality. Our multi-disciplinary staff employs a teamwork approach using legal, economic analysis, public policy advocacy and research, and communications tools to produce successes that improve both our environment and our economy.

Notes from the Nonprofit

ELPC’s finances are stable in challenging times. We operate with a balanced budget, not at a deficit, thanks to our fairly conservative approach to financial management. That's why ELPC has received a clean, unqualified audit report and opinion letter from our auditors each year. ELPC has a strong and diverse funding base, ranging from large, multi-year grants from international foundations to recurring small donations from committed Midwesterners looking to help us improve and protect their air and water. ELPC has grown both the size of our budget – from a start-up of $850,000 per year to more than $6 million in revenue during FY 2014 – and the breadth and diversity of our funding base – from the seven “founding foundation” supporters to more than 150 foundations and donors committing $1,000 or more in the past year to support the organization’s growth and stability.

Ruling Year

1993

Executive Director

Mr. Howard A. Learner

Main Address

35 East Wacker Drive Suite 1600

Chicago, IL 60601 USA

Keywords

Environmental Advocacy, public interest, non-profit, Clean Energy, wind, solar, energy efficiency, farm energy, Clean Air, coal, coal plant, mercury, diesel, air pollution, Clean Water, nitrogen, phos

EIN

36-3866530

 Number

4079388294

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Environmental Quality, Protection, and Beautification N.E.C. (C99)

Energy Resources Conservation and Development (C35)

Public Transportation Systems and Services (W40)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015.
Register now

Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

Add a problem overview to your profile.

Update now

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Climate Change Solutions

Clean Energy

Clean Air

Clean Water

Clean Transportation

Protecting the Midwest's Special Natural Places

Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of citizen science air quality data points collected

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Clean Air

Context notes

ELPC volunteer citizen scientists are building a database of air quality in Chicago on a block-by-block level.

Renewable energy generated in the Midwest

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified

Related program

Clean Energy

Context notes

ELPC develops policies and programs to promote the generation of clean, renewable power in the Midwest. This graph shows that megawatthours of clean power continue to grow.

Coal energy generated in the Midwest (Less is Better)

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified

Related program

Clean Air

Context notes

Reducing our dependence on power generated by coal-fired power plants is an important part of cleaning up our air and reducing global warming pollution.

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

The Midwest states where ELPC works are at the center of our planet’s climate change problems. Almost one quarter of the carbon pollution emitted in the U.S. comes from the Midwest. The nine Midwest states ELPC works in are global carbon pollution offenders only surpassed by China, India, Japan and Russia. That’s because the Midwest has more old coal plants and transportation infrastructure than anywhere in the nation. Many were built long before modern environmental regulations, and continue to belch carbon and toxic chemicals like mercury, sulfur and nitrogen into our air and water.

ELPC’s vision embraces both smart, persuasive advocacy and sustainable development principles to win the most important environmental cases and create positive solutions to protect the environment by reducing our reliance on dirty energy and fighting unnecessary developments and sprawl that threaten our treasured natural places.

ELPC develops and lead successful strategic advocacy campaigns to improve environmental quality and protect our natural resources. We are public interest environmental entrepreneurs who engage in creative business dealmaking with diverse interests to put into practice our belief that environmental progress and economic development can be achieved together. ELPC’s multidisciplinary staff of talented and experienced public interest attorneys, environmental business specialists, public policy advocates and communications specialists brings a strong and effective combination of skills to solve environmental problems.

ELPC’s teamwork approach uses legal, economic, scientific and public policy analysis, and communications advocacy tools to produce successes. ELPC’s strategic advocacy and business dealmaking involves proposing solutions when we oppose threats to the Midwest environment. We say “yes” to better solutions; we don’t just say “no.”

ELPC’s multidisciplinary staff of talented and experienced public interest attorneys, environmental business specialists, public policy advocates and communications specialists work strategically to generate national and regional impacts through efforts focused in the Midwest and Great Plains states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. These states are both a center of our nation’s pollution problems as well as a fulcrum for solutions that make good sense for both our environment and our economy; while the region serves as the nation’s transportation hub and hosts the nation’s largest concentration of old, highly polluting coal-fired power plants, it also holds the nation’s richest and largely untapped clean energy potential. ELPC sometimes works at the national level, influencing policies like the federal Farm Bill and federal transportation legislation, and other times works at the state level, where we can continue raising the bar for state action and working toward tipping points for national action.

ELPC is governed by a 17-member board composed of businesspeople, academics, attorneys, and civic leaders. They meet quarterly to examine our progress and guide staff on major organizational decisions. ELPC's volunteer Science Advisory Council includes leading academics from the University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, Northwestern University, and Loyola University who assure that our program decisions benefit from regular scientific input.

ELPC's Energy Efficiency team of public interest environmental attorneys and eco-business specialists works with utility companies and the public utility commissions that govern them in the key Midwest states of Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Iowa. The utilities in these states must propose multi-year energy efficiency programs to comply with state laws to conserve energy. Advocating with utilities and public regulators for improved energy efficiency in multiple states with tens of millions of electricity customers allows ELPC to achieve substantial reductions in energy demand measured in megawatt hours of electricity, along with the resulting avoidance of tons of greenhouse gas emissions and gallons of water consumption.

ELPC's Renewable Energy team works throughout the region to eliminate barriers to the growth of renewable energy. We design and implement policies like interconnection and net metering that make it easier and more affordable to connect home-grown renewable energy to the grid. We create and defend innovative incentives that provide creative opportunities to green our energy mix, like the renewable energy standards that guarantee increasing investments in wind and solar in Illinois and Michigan. We even provide pro-bono legal defense to small businesses under attack from utilities that want to stifle clean energy innovation and choice. These efforts lead to measurable increases in the amount of renewable energy capacity that is constructed in each state, measured in megawatts of installed generating capacity.

Our Clean Air team leverages expert legal, economic, and policy strategies to move the Midwest past its dirty coal past and into a clean energy future. We use multiple sources of legal and policy pressure to force old coal plants to internalize the true health and climate change costs of their pollution. For example, advocating for high state and federal standards for cleaner air and water, and then aggressively litigating plant owners when they fail to meet those standards. This work drives measurable decreases in the amount of energy generated from old coal plants, measured in megawatts of coal generation capacity eliminated or prevented.

Our Clean Water team protects water quality in multiple states by carefully reviewing sources of pollution to enforce Clean Water Act standards, through litigation if necessary. We also design, implement and defend new state water quality standards to keep clean water clean, and work to prevent flooding caused by poor wastewater management policies.

Our Natural Resource Protection team is the legal force behind the Midwestern conservation movement. Our pro-bono attorneys represent conservation colleagues and ordinary citizens in court, often responding to requests for immediate help to protect the Midwest’s natural heritage in their own home state. We work in the courts and in the court of public opinion through savvy media campaigns to accomplish our allies conservation goals.

ELPC’s advocacy to improve utility energy efficiency programs in these states has conserved more than 15 million megawatt hours of electricity since 2008 – enough energy to power more than 1.4 million American homes for a year. Reducing that amount of energy use has reduced water consumption at power plants by more than 7 billion gallons and prevented more than 10 million tons of greenhouse gasses from entering our atmosphere.

Since the release of ELPC’s clean energy development roadmap a decade ago, Repowering the Midwest, the amount of installed wind power capacity in the region has grown from less than 1,000 megawatts to almost 20,000 megawatts of generation, enough to power more than 5.2 million homes. Installations of solar power in the Midwest grew by 70% last year, and are on track to become a significant portion of energy generation in Illinois, Wisconsin, and other states. This transformation has brought new businesses and new economic activity. In 2015 ELPC identified more than 2,000 Midwest companies involved in the renewable energy supply chain, up from less than 1,000 in 2011.

ELPC’s legal and policy advocacy over a decade has contributed to the closure, cleanup, or delay of 16 coal plants, totaling more than 9,000 megawatts of coal capacity in the Midwest. The combined emissions of those shuttered coal plants has eliminated more than 35 million tons of annually discharged CO2 greenhouse gas, and thousands of tons of other toxins like mercury, sulfur, and nitrogen. ELPC negotiated the Illinois mercury standards on mercury, nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides, reducing mercury from coal plants by 90% and forcing costly upgrades at many coal plants in the state. Those standards preceded additional federal standards that added even more pressure to older coal plants to clean up, or shut down.

ELPC attorneys have played a pivotal role in some of the largest Midwest conservation battles in the past decade. In Savannah Illinois, ELPC stopped the Prison on the Prairie, a proposed 1,000 cell maximum security prison planned atop an exceedingly rare and ancient habitat – one of the last functioning sand prairie ecosystems in the nation. ELPC and allies established the first-ever limits on toxic algae-causing phosphorus in Wisconsin, and successfully defended state “anti-degradation” laws from legal challenges in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. In Wisconsin’s North Woods in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, ELPC has carried out federal and administrative litigation on 17 proposed large-scale timber sales affecting more than 150,000 acres. And in Saugatuck Michigan, ELPC fought back and won when a billionaire real estate developer tried to bully residents and bulldoze the treasured lakefront dunes, which were named one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

External Reviews

Awards & Accreditations

Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator

Photos

Financials

Environmental Law and Policy Center of the Midwest

Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

Need more info on this nonprofit?

Need more info on this nonprofit?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to view a Sample Report.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Yes