Drew Caputo

Vice President of Litigation for Lands, Wildlife, and Oceans

Drew Caputo, Vice President of Litigation for Lands, Wildlife, and Oceans.

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Drew Caputo is Vice President of Litigation for Lands, Wildlife, and Oceans, leading Earthjustice’s expansive docket of litigation to protect the nation’s public lands and cherished wild places, irreplaceable species, and ocean fisheries and habitats. He has mounted challenges to fossil fuel development on public lands and waters, defended the Endangered Species Act and its implementing regulations, and created new initiatives to protect biodiversity and partner with Indigenous communities. He began his legal career as an associate attorney in Earthjustice’s Rocky Mountain regional office in Denver, litigating cases to protect the public lands, rivers, and endangered species of the Rocky Mountain West.

Drew previously worked at the Natural Resources Defense Council for a total of 14 years. He served initially as a senior attorney at NRDC, where he successfully worked to reform federal management of overfished fisheries; force revocation of the largest source of permitted wetlands loss in the United States; block legislative attacks on the Clean Water Act; and advance air quality protections. He later became NRDC’s Chief Program Officer, where he had overall strategic and operational responsibility for NRDC’s programmatic advocacy to protect public health and the environment in the United States and internationally. Drew also served for eight years as an Assistant United States Attorney in San Francisco, where he prosecuted federal civil rights, public corruption, and national security crimes.

Drew received a B.A. in history from Brown University and a J.D. from Yale Law School. He is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lives with his wife, their two children, and their crazy rescue dog.

The Latest from Drew Caputo

March 28, 2024

In the News: CNN

Biden administration strengthens Endangered Species Act protections weakened under Trump

“There’s a climate crisis and there’s also a biodiversity crisis. I think a lot of people think the climate crisis is the main driver of the biodiversity crisis — that’s not true. It’s habitat destruction.”
July 19, 2022

In the News: Washington Post

Offshore oil is not the answer

A letter-to-the-editor
Pumpjacks operating at the Kern River Oil Field in Bakersfield, California in 2015.
March 9, 2022

The Oil Industry’s Dishonest Effort to Wring Profits from Pain

While Ukrainians fight for their lives, the oil industry has pounced on an opportunity to profit economically and politically.
December 16, 2021

In the News: Grist

‘It doesn’t have to be this way’: Lessons from the slow death of Louisiana’s oil industry

“The scientists are not just saying clearly – but waving their arms frantically – that the time to begin to move seriously to winding down fossil fuel development is now. That it will be more effective and far cheaper to make those changes now than later.”
December 14, 2021

In the News: Grist

The Biden administration said its drilling-lease spree in the Gulf was court-ordered. It wasn’t.

“There is just a big gap between the administration’s rhetoric and aspirations on climate and their actual actions. What matters now is not pledges, or desire to do the right thing, but making the right decisions.”
November 17, 2021

In the News: Newsweek

Biden's Failure to Stop Sale of New Mexico-Sized Oil Drilling Plot

"The Biden administration has a real possibility to lead on climate, but it must be willing to move away from leasing out our lands and waters, and our future, to the oil and gas industry."
November 17, 2021

In the News: Associated Press

Companies bid $192 million in 1st Gulf oil sale under Biden

“We’re talking about transitioning away from a fossil fuel economy, and they are selling a giant carbon bomb of a lease sale.”
November 13, 2021

In the News: Huffington Post

Days After Climate Summit, Biden To Hold ‘Carbon Bomb’ Gulf Oil Sale

“When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging. We’re in a fossil fuel leasing hole, so the first thing to do is stop new leasing.”
October 26, 2021

In the News: NowThis

Why Resuming Oil and Gas Leasing is Bad for the Environment

A video interview
September 17, 2021

In the News: Rolling Stone

Joe Biden’s Climate Critics

“There is no way that the United States can meet its climate obligations and goals with this kind of business-as-usual fossil-fuel development The climate crisis doesn’t care about any of the political stuff. I think there’s a really powerful political case to be made that the Biden administration’s response to the climate has been well-intentioned but inadequate, but at the end of the day, it’s the atmospheric physics that needs to govern what they do. That says the time for action is now — and they’re not taking it.”
July 5, 2021

In the News: Associated Press

New infrastructure deal must focus on climate

“We’re not going to successfully fight climate change if we trade pipeline for pipeline.’’
June 22, 2021

In the News: The Guardian

Activists fear Biden’s climate pledges are falling apart: ‘We aren’t seeing grit’

“It’s legally wrong. Every presidential administration has delayed or cancelled lease sales. The Trump administration last year delayed offshore oil leases because of the pandemic and changes in the market. There were no complaints, literally, and it was an unremarkable thing because that kind of thing happens all of the time.”
May 28, 2021

In the News: The New York Times

Biden’s Fossil Fuel Moves Clash With Pledges on Climate Change

“I get that they’re being pressured politically. I get that there are thin margins. But the climate crisis doesn’t care about any of that stuff.”
March 9, 2021

In the News: Bloomberg

Interior Department Begins Review of Oil, Gas Leasing Program

“The federal oil and gas leasing program needs serious reform if America is going to address climate change. Nearly 25% of this country’s climate-cooking emissions come from fossil fuels pumped or mined from lands and waters that belong to all Americans. This is unsustainable.”

March 2, 2021

In the News: The New York Times

Reversing Trump, Interior Department Moves Swiftly on Climate Change

“The climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis isn’t standing still.”
June 23, 2016

This Land Is Our Land

As the National Parks Service turns 100 this summer, Earthjustice continues to defend public lands so future generations can always find refuge in these magnificent places.
Erik Mandre/Shutterstock
April 11, 2016

Judge: Refusal to List Wolverine as Endangered “Borders on the Absurd”

The iconic wolverine has a fighting chance at survival thanks to a recent court ruling on behalf of eight conservation groups represented by Earthjustice.
Josef Friedhuber/iStock
March 15, 2016

Leadership to Protect Atlantic Ocean Should Extend to the Arctic

A proposal that protects the Atlantic Ocean leaves the Arctic Ocean open to new offshore oil drilling, undermining our nation’s commitment to take meaningful action on climate change and increasing the risk of oil spills.
March 10, 2016

Lo Que Puede Significar El Acuerdo De Clima De EE.UU./Canada Para El Futuro

El Presidente Obama tiene importantes oportunidades de cumplir la promesa de este acuerdo en venideras decisiones a tomar acerca de la perforación de petróleo y gas en el Océano Ártico.
An alpha male Arctic wolf bounds across the ice floes.
March 10, 2016

What the Joint US/Canada Climate Agreement Could Mean for the Future of the Arctic

Today, the leaders of the U.S. and Canada announced an agreement that includes a major commitment to joint climate action and Arctic conservation. Upcoming decisions create opportunities to fulfill its promise.
"Malheur NWR, OR" by Don Barrett https://flic.kr/p/ahgGfv
January 19, 2016

Stealing America’s Birthright

There's a lot at stake in the armed standoff at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
A humpback whale feeding in Monterey Bay, California.
June 12, 2015

To Save the Whales, You Must First Save the Sardines

Sardines are in need of protections like those the menhaden, a similar species, received after their population reached the verge of collapse.