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.

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
Climate Action Supporters: The Fossil Fuel Industry Is Not Your Friend

A week after taking office, President Joe Biden issued an executive order “on tackling the climate crisis” that aims to face the challenge comprehensively and equitably. Biden has quickly appointed and seen confirmed a team of leaders who are committed to all aspects of this mission. Our country is finally on the cusp of meaningful climate action. The climate action train is so popular that even fossil fuel companies, which have historically sought to derail it, are now saying they’re on board. We should, of course, welcome all sincere collaborators; the fossil fuel industry is not among them.

Type: Op-Eds (May 2, 2021)
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Author(s): Karen Sokol
Joint Letter to the House on the Environmental Justice for All Act

CPR joined the Choose Clean Water Coalition and other allies in a joint letter to the House of Representatives, urging members to cosponsor the Environmental Justice for All Act (H.R. 2021).

Type: Legislative Testimony (April 22, 2021)
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Joint Letter to the Senate on the Environmental Justice for All Act

CPR joined the Choose Clean Water Coalition and other allies in a joint letter to the Senate, urging senators to cosponsor the Environmental Justice for All Act (S. 872).

Type: Legislative Testimony (April 22, 2021)
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CPR Climate Justice Initiative: Charting a National Path Forward through the California Example

Commitments to ensure an equitable clean energy transition are gaining traction, with some states dedicating a portion of clean energy funding to historically marginalized communities and the Biden-Harris administration proposing to dedicate 40 percent of federal climate funds to achieving climate justice. These commitments are essential to realizing an energy transition for communities that would otherwise be left further behind and can help alleviate longstanding inequities. As these initiatives take shape, CPR is tapping the expertise of our climate and environmental justice scholars and our body of work on climate justice. Over the next two years, we'll dig into the California example, researching the state's track record in implementing climate justice programs.

Type: Reports (April 19, 2021)
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Author(s): Alice Kaswan, Minor Sinclair

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