Rhea Suh to become president of NRDC

December 30, 2014
Rhea Suh will officially become the (Korea Times file)

Rhea Suh will officially become the Natural Resources Defense Council’s president on Jan. 1, 2015. (Korea Times file)

By Brian Han

Rhea S. Suh will soon be leaving the Department of the Interior to become the head of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one of the largest environmental advocacy groups in the world.

As of Jan. 1, 2015, she will officially take on the role making her the third president of the organization in its 44-year history.

Additionally, as a Korean American, she will also be the first non-white woman to lead an environmental group of this magnitude.

“It has been an unparalleled privilege to work for [President Barack Obama] and Interior Secretaries Ken Salazar and Sally Jewell,” she said at a press conference in September. “Now, I’m honored to join NRDC, our nation’s intrepid defender of clean air, safe water, and wild places.”

While Suh was working for the Department of the Interior, she oversaw a $12 billion budget and approximately 70,000 employees.

If anyone is fit to handle the NRDC, which boasts over a million members, there may not be anyone more appropriate than Suh.

She has been public about her environmental concerns and recently published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times.

Her stance centers on the current state of U.S. oil dependency and the associated repercussions. It’s not necessarily a new issue, but with free-falling oil prices, it happens to be highly relevant.

Read her piece here.

As the daughter of two Korean immigrant parents, she was born and raised in Boulder, Col. where she developed a love and appreciation for the outdoors.

Suh decided to pursue her interests further when she studied environmental science and education at Columbia University. She graduated in 1992 and also went on to get her master’s in education at Harvard University.

Since then she has working for notable environmental groups and initiatives including the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which have all played roles in her becoming the head of the NRDC.