The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), founded in 1966, is a tax exempt nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization that specializes in aggressive litigation to “protect all parts of New England’s environment, including everything from oceans to rivers to mountains, from parks to forests, from big cities to small towns, from Maine to Rhode Island..”
CLF has 57 employees staffing offices in all New England states, and reports total assets of $16.3 million (2009). In Vermont its three staff attorneys are Chris Killian, Sandy Levine, and Anthony Iarrapino. All three are registered lobbyists. Its Vermont board includes Maximilian Kempner (Chair), former Gov. Phil Hoff, philanthropist Crea Lintilhac, and former House member Ann Seibert of Norwich.
CLF has long waged a legal battle against the CIRC highway and commercial construction in the Champlain Valley. It often works in partnership with VPIRG’s eight registered lobbyists. One such effort, according to VPIRG’s website, was pushing for the Vermont Senate vote to shut down Vermont Yankee. CLF will apparently litigate to ensure that the present climate never changes; one of its stated goals is to “fight climate change”.
CLF Revenues 2007-2009
CLF- New England
Since 1999 CLF-New England has received 508 grants from various foundations for a total of $20,302,157. Some of these grants are targeted specifically for advocacy on issues here in Vermont. Representative grants include:
- THE ENERGY FOUNDATION of San Francisco: $2,262,000 over 9 years mostly to support regulations pertaining to energy efficiency and renewable energy, including implementation of the regional greenhouse gas initiative and defending carbon dioxide regulation.
- The BARR FOUNDATION of Boston: $1,224,230 over eight years
- The ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION of New York: $1,145,000 over eight years
- The FORD FOUNDATION of New York: $1,100,000 in two separate grants.
- The JOHN MERCK FUND of Boston: $480,000 since 2001 for such projects as opposition to the construction of the Chittenden County Circumferential Highway, opposition to the sale of Vermont Yankee, support for participation in the regional greenhouse gas initiative, addressing greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector, and supporting wind power
In the West, litigation organizations like Pacific Legal Foundation and Mountain States Legal Foundation work actively to resist CLF-style litigation. Here, the New England Legal Foundation (Boston) focuses primarily on business regulation, employment law, and corporate law issues. There is thus no active counterpart to CLF working to defend limited government, reduced regulation and economic growth.