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Conservation Law Foundation Conservation Law Foundation

Quick Stats

Official Name: Conservation Law Foundation
Year Founded: 1966
Chief Executive: Phil Warburg
Chairman: Michael B. Moskow
Headquarters: Boston, MA, USA
Mission: To advocate on behalf of the region's environment and its communities.
Slogan: Protecting New England's environment
Language Spoken: English
# Countries Active: USA
Official Website:
Phone: 617.350.0990
Areas of Focus: Climate Change, Conservation, Forestry, Law, Policy and Property Rights, Water
Organisation Type:

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Conservation Law Foundation

Country: United States

About Us

Conservation Law Foundation is the oldest regional environmental advocacy organization in the nation.

Since 1966, CLF’s tenacious advocacy staff has worked to solve the most significant environmental problems that threaten New England. CLF’s advocates use law, economics and science to create innovative strategies to conserve natural resources, protect public health and promote vital communities in our region.

Protecting Georges Bank from oil drilling and overfishing, ending decades of thoughtless sewage dumping into Boston Harbor, preserving bear habitat in Vermont, saving New Hampshire’s Franconia Notch from a 4-lane highway and writing monumental lead protection laws in Rhode Island – these are but a few of CLF’s landmark achievements.

CLF is a nonprofit, member-supported organization with offices in Portland, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; Concord, New Hampshire; Providence, Rhode Island and Montpelier, Vermont.

Notable Achievements

Originally founded in 1966 to stop the development of ski slopes on Massachusett's highest peak, Mount Greylock, CLF expanded its advocacy to address both environmental and community issues in all six New England states.

Traditional Environmental Advocacy

In 1977, the organization successfully fought the expansion plans for a federal divided highway through Franconia Notch, in New Hampshire's White Mountains. Since that time, CLF's legal advocacy has focused on several natural resources cases, including the clean up of Lake Champlain (by challenging state stormwater permits), the prevention of overfishing of groundfish--cod, haddock, and flounder--off the coast of New England (resulting in a settlement requiring the National Marine Fisheries Service to produce a management plan to eliminate overfishing), and the protection of the Vermont black bear habitat (by obtaining a federal court injunction halting destructive U.S. logging practices in southern Vermont's fragile Lamb Brook wilderness area, marking the first time an environmental group in the Northeast successfully challenges the U.S. Forest Service's clear-cutting policies).

Cleanup of Boston Harbor

In 1983 the CLF initiated a suit against the Metropolitan District Commission (a division of the government of the state of Massachusetts), and the Environmental Protection Agency. The result of this and other litigation, including that of the City of Quincy, was to compel the state to comply with federal environmental laws, and to build appropriate facilities to properly treat sewage discharged into Boston harbor, and establish workable governmental mechanisms to finance the new facilities and pay for their continuing operations. The formation of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), taking over the water facilities properties, operations and legal authority previously held by the Metropolitan District commission is one byproduct of the litigation. The legal battle was most intense from 1983 into the 1990s.

Community & Transportation Advocacy

Believing cities and towns to be as important environmental constituencies as forests and rivers, CLF advocated for increased light rail and public transportation options in Boston, New Hampshire, and Maine. In a pre-suit settlement with CLF, state highway officials in Massachusetts agreed to implement measures to reduce air pollution, including rail and transit improvements, as part of Boston’s Central Artery project (also known as the Big Dig).

Additionally, CLF advocated for state laws to protect children from the threat of lead poisoning. In 1988, following a three-year campaign by CLF, Massachusetts passed the nation’s toughest law to protect its citizens, especially children, from lead poisoning.

Energy Advocacy

One of the cornerstones of CLF's modern advocacy is pushing states to invest in energy sources that have less propensity for pollution. In 1983, CLF took credit for the decision by the Public Service Company of New Hampshire, the largest electric company in the state, to abandon its plans for a second nuclear unit at Seabrook Nuclear Power Station after CLF testimony demonstrates that the construction of the facility would not make financial sense.

Later, in 2003, CLF claimed victory when the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection finalized a schedule requiring the Salem Harbor and Brayton Point coal-fired power plants to significantly reduce harmful emissions and comply with the "Filthy Five" regulations.

Recently, CLF has been lending its advocacy practices to supporting the development of a for-profit, offshore wind farm, known as Cape Wind.

Governance & Financial

The Conservation Law Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees and advised by a Board of Overseers.  The Board of Trustees manages the affairs of CLF and is considered as having the power of “directors” in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 180 and applicable provisions of Chapter 156B of the General Laws of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Trustees meet eight times a year and are elected by the Board of Overseers to three-year terms.

The Board of Overseers meets twice a year, during which time they advise the staff and Trustees on matters of policies or programs affecting CLF.  They are eligible to serve for three-year terms.

How to donate

Thank you for your commitment to Conservation Law Foundation. Since 1966, CLF has partnered with stakeholders across New England, using a combination of law, science and market-based initiatives to solve our most pressing environmental challenges.

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