Environment & Energy

Our planet faces unprecedented environmental challenges, threatening ecosystems, species, coastal communities, and all too often, human life itself. Heading the list of threats is climate change, with its promise of drastic environmental, economic, and cultural upheaval. But we also face persistent problems of air and water pollution, toxic wastes, cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and other Great Waters, and protecting natural resources and wildlife.

Central to the environmental health of the nation and the planet is decreasing our dependence on energy derived from burning fossil fuels. Our continued reliance on these sources is literally endangering the planet's ability to sustain life as we know it. Yet many policymakers, with the financial and rhetorical support of energy companies bent on making a profit at the cost of the planet's health, continue to resist desperately needed reforms. Read about CPR’s work protecting the environment in reports, testimony, op-eds and more. Use the search box to narrow the list.

Leadership and the Challenge of Climate Change

Recent events have dramatized the urgent need for prompt and bold action to respond to climate change. Raging rivers in Germany and Belgium, unheard of "heat domes" over large sections of North America, and uncontrolled wildfires and flooding around the globe, have made it absolutely clear that humankind must quickly limit the emission of greenhouse gases and adapt to the increasingly calamitous consequences of climate disruption. In view of this situation, what is and ought to be the substance of environmental leadership?

Type: Op-Eds (July 20, 2021)
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Author(s): Joel Mintz
Center for Progressive Reform Expands Staff of Policy Analysts

The Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) is pleased to announce that it is expanding its staff to strengthen policy expertise and advocacy work in the areas of climate change, worker justice, and equity. M. Isabelle Chaudry and Catalina González joined the organization in mid-July and bring strong policy and social justice experience to CPR. Their unique perspectives will enrich and strengthen the organization’s work at the intersection of racial justice and a sustainable planet.

Type: News Releases (July 19, 2021)
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Author(s): Brian Gumm
Comment to the U.S. EPA on Preventing Chemical Disasters and Cost-Benefit Analysis

In a comment to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), CPR Senior Policy Analyst James Goodwin urges the agency to use any eventual rulemaking within the Risk Management Program to rework how cost-benefit analysis is used to evaluate rules. Goodwin encourages EPA to work with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to take otherwise unquantifiable benefits into account and maximize protections from chemical disasters.

Type: Letters to Agencies (July 15, 2021)
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Author(s): James Goodwin
Center for Progressive Reform Welcomes New Board Members

The Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) is pleased to announce three new members on its Board of Directors. Each brings a wealth of experience and unique perspectives to CPR and will enrich and strengthen the organization’s work toward racial justice and a sustainable planet. Joining the Board are Alejandro Camacho, a law professor and longtime CPR Member Scholar; Sekita Grant, a leader in environmental health and justice; and Ajulo Othow, a leader in equitable renewable energy solutions.

Type: News Releases (July 8, 2021)
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Author(s): Brian Gumm
Joint Letter Proposing Recommendations to the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board

The Center for Progressive Reform joined 21 other public interest organizations in a letter proposing reforms and improvements to the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board. The recommendations are aimed at improving the functionality of the agency and better protecting communities from chemical disasters.

Type: Letters to Agencies (July 8, 2021)
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Organizations Call on EPA to Protect Communities from Climate-Driven Chemical Disasters

Three national environmental and scientific advocacy groups released a policy brief to respond to the call for information from the Biden administration on ways EPA should take stronger action to protect communities at risk of chemical disasters worsened by hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and other climate events.

Type: News Releases (July 7, 2021)
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Author(s): Brian Gumm
Preventing "Double Disasters"

It’s past time to address “double disasters” — hazardous chemical releases by industrial facilities that are worsened by inadequate action in the face of conditions of climate change and natural disasters. As the global climate crisis intensifies, coastal and inland communities are increasingly at risk of natural disasters. When industrial facilities in these communities fail to adequately prepare for extreme storms, wildfires, earthquakes, heat waves, floods, rising sea levels, and other natural disasters, hazardous chemicals stored onsite can ignite, explode, and there may be dangerous and even catastrophic releases that threaten the health and safety of workers and the public. This can lead to a cascading series of harms, including toxic chemical exposures, on top of the effects of the storm itself. This brief spotlights this urgent issue, proposes policy solutions, and calls on federal leaders to take bold and prompt action to solve this problem.

Type: Reports (July 7, 2021)
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Author(s): David Flores, Darya Minovi
Reversing Trump's Rules Not Enough to Prevent Extinctions

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is a polarizing statute that imposes seemingly uncompromising mandates. It strictly prohibits activities that degrade habitat in a way that significantly impairs the ability of protected animals to survive and thrive. The ESA mandates appear inflexible, impeding collaboration between and among regulators and stakeholders. Yet, contrary to this conventional wisdom, a newly published analysis shows that ESA implementation embraces conservation collaborations. Rather than simply applying or waiving prohibitions on habitat-impairing actions, many ESA rules incorporate public-private plans or best-management practices that focus on the key threats to species at greatest risk of extinction.

Type: Op-Eds (June 23, 2021)
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Author(s): Robert Fischman
Joint Letter to President Biden and the EPA on Strengthening Select Air Pollution Standards

CPR joined dozens of public health, environmental, and other public interest organizations in urging the Biden White House and the EPA to strengthen air pollution standards for ozone and particulate matter. Both substances can cause or worsen a wide range of serious health problems, including asthma, other lung diseases, and cardiovascular conditions.

Type: Letters to Agencies (June 10, 2021)
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Author(s): James Goodwin
The Supreme Court’s Obscure Procedural Ruling in Baltimore’s Climate Case, Explained

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on an important case about whether major oil and gas companies should be held accountable for engaging in a systematic marketing campaign to deceive the public about the catastrophic threat that fossil fuel products pose to the planet. The Court didn’t consider the merits of the case but rather answered an obscure procedural question in a way that permits the defendants to continue to delay litigation in state court, and thereby also serves to deny the public essential information about the fossil fuel industry’s attempt to spread disinformation about its products’ role in fueling the climate crisis.

Type: Op-Eds (May 26, 2021)
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Author(s): Karen Sokol

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