Norris' Story

A large part of my story can be found in my autobiography, "Diary Of An Environmentalist."

I organized Earth Day Clean Ups with EPA Region III among many such projects at the national, state and local levels.

I have indulged myself in working on a variety of issues and programs. These include everything from creek walks and cleanup events for youth, replaced furnaces in public housing with efficient furnaces, audited public housing boiler rooms and residences, audited St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, DC, wrote and passed through Congress the first performance contracting law for federal buildings, worked to get new nuclear power plants built and to maintain the current fleet, and many other activities.

To tell the full story of my work, I published my autobiography "Norris McDonald: Diary Of An Environmentalist" in 2009.  


I was the first environmentalist in the United States to publicly and actively support nuclear power starting in 2000.  I founded the Center for Environment, Commerce & Energy (CfECE), the first environmental group in the United States to publicly and actively support nuclear power. 

My support for nuclear power was an epiphany. In July 1991 I went into respiratory failure from an asthma attack in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. I was intubated for 4 days. I went into respiratory failure again in 1996 and was again intubated for 4 days. There were numerous visits to the emergency room during these years and I thought that I would die from an asthma attack during many of these episodes. As someone who suffers from chronic asthma, the fact that nuclear energy production doesn’t emit the harmful pollutants of fossil fuels that can exacerbate respiratory conditions such as asthma made it clear to me that saving nuclear power should be a central component of my mission to achieve environmental justice.

An interest in quantum mechanics led me to studying nuclear power and understanding its singular importance in saving the environment. This realization was terrifying and did not come easily because I knew how unpopular a pro-nuclear stance would be in a Washington, DC-based environmental movement.  Almost everybody who knew me, in and out of the environmental movement, told me I was crazy.

I worked on nuclear power issues like there was no tomorrow.  From about 2000 to 2014, my work was second to none.  But by 2014, nuclear power was not in a renaissance, but was in a serious swan dive. Background on my nuclear work shows how dedicated I have been to mitigating climate change already.  I have toured 12 nuclear power plants in the United States, China and France.