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EWG Taps Craig Cox To Head New Midwest Office

For Immediate Release: 
Thursday, May 22, 2008

Washington, May 21—Craig Cox, one of the country’s preeminent authorities on the environmental impacts of modern agriculture, has been named Midwest Vice President of Environmental Working Group (EWG) and will establish a new regional office for the organization in Ames, Iowa later this year.

EWG is a leading national public interest research and advocacy organization that uses the power of information to protect the environment and public health. EWG has long been at the forefront of efforts to reform federal farm policy in order to improve the environmental performance of U.S. agriculture. EWG also has major programs dealing with toxic chemicals and health and protection of Western public lands.

Cox will have overall responsibility for EWG’s research and advocacy programs in the Midwest. His office will be the focal point of the organization’s work on food, agriculture and biofuels policy, with program staff in Iowa, Washington, DC and California. Initial priorities of EWG’s Midwest office will include water quality in the Mississippi River Basin, implementation of USDA’s conservation programs, environmental impacts of biofuels, and U.S. agriculture’s contributions to, and potential to mitigate and adapt to global warming.

“The staff and board of EWG are thrilled and honored to have Craig Cox lead a new Midwest office for our organization and spearhead our expanding research and advocacy at the intersection of agriculture and the environment,” said EWG Executive Director Richard Wiles. “Craig is universally respected in policy circles as a top expert on USDA’s multi-billion dollar conservation programs, the impacts of agriculture on the land, water resources and wildlife habitat, and the risks that climate change and expanded biofuels production pose to agricultural resources,” said Wiles. “He will significantly strengthen EWG’s acknowledged leadership in this field.”

“The demands we are placing on our land and water to produce more food, fiber, and now fuels are unprecedented,” said Cox. “We are asking more of our land and water at the same time that a global food crisis, high energy prices, and climate change are raising the stakes. If we don’t get the right policies in place, our agricultural watersheds, global ecosystems, and farmers here and abroad will suffer. The implications for the world’s poor, developing countries, and our environment are enormous. We can solve these problems, but we need to act now.” Cox observed.

“I consider EWG to be the most influential public interest group in the nation working on U.S. agriculture’s core environmental challenges, and I am proud and excited to lead the next phase of their work,” added Cox.

For the past 10 years Cox has served as Executive Director of the Soil and Water Conservation Society, the leading association of soil and water conservation professionals, headquartered in Ankeny, Iowa. Previously, Cox was Acting USDA Deputy Under-Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, and Special Assistant to the Chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. He served two years on the staff of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, with responsibility for conservation policy including the conservation portfolio for the 1996 Farm Bill. Before going to the Hill, Cox was also a Staff Officer with the Board on Agriculture of the National Academy of Sciences where he managed several large-scale research projects. Prior to his career in Washington, Cox spent a decade with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as a field biologist and program director.

Cox’s appointment as EWG’s Midwest Vice President is effective August 4.

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EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment.