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Showing 224 results

Federico Holm | February 28, 2024

New Report and Interactive Map: Communities Left Behind: How Local Ordinances Can Obstruct Energy Democracy and a Just Transition

A profound energy transition is sweeping the United States. In addition to mitigating dangerous greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, it means new economic opportunities and a safer and healthier environment for communities across the country. A better future is certainly within reach, or at least it is for some communities, which are the ones that will be able to capitalize on the green transition. But for many others, there is no guarantee that this clean energy transition will be a just and equitable one. Why is this the case? As we explore in a new report and interactive map, it turns out that one of the biggest obstacles is self-inflicted: local ordinances that restrict new renewable energy development projects, including wind, solar, and battery storage.

Federico Holm | February 22, 2024

Fine Particle Pollution: Unevenly Distributed, Driven by Heavy Traffic, and Supercharged by E-commerce

On February 7, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized new and stronger air quality standards for fine particle pollution (commonly known as soot), a harmful pollutant and byproduct of burning coal, manufacturing, oil refining, and motor vehicles. Soot is one of the nation’s most dangerous air pollutants, and one of the most widespread, though it disproportionately impacts the health of structurally marginalized communities. Multiple reports have found that people living within half a mile of warehouses have higher rates of asthma and heart attacks than residents in the area overall, increased risk of cancer, and nervous system effects.

Sophie Loeb | February 15, 2024

North Carolina Utilities Commission Should Ensure Public Participation on Proposed New Methane Gas Plants

As North Carolinians continue to grapple with rolling blackouts and rising energy bills, yet another pending environmental catastrophe is developing in our backyards. Duke Energy, our state’s monopoly utility provider, has submitted filings for two new methane gas power plants — one at the current Roxboro coal plant in Person County and another at the Marshall plant on Lake Norman.

Richard Pierce, Jr. | February 1, 2024

Should Environmental Justice Concerns Stop at the Border?

I find the Center for Progressive Reform’s pursuit of environmental justice inherently appealing, but this work raises provocative questions: Should U.S.-focused groups like the Center and policymakers pursue an environmental justice mission that does not account for potentially negative trade-offs in developing countries? Or, are there ways to account for those trade-offs to ensure environmental justice work and efforts to address climate change benefit people across the globe?

James Goodwin, Will Dobbs-Allsopp | January 31, 2024

New Report: A Forgotten EPA Obligation Would Help Address Racial Health Disparities, Strengthen the Economy, and Tackle the Climate Crisis

What if we told you that every day, tens of millions of Americans are exposed to something that contributes to neurological disease, depression, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke? What if we also told you that in causing these health harms, it was disproportionately affecting low-wealth communities and communities of color? What is this dangerous “something”? It’s excessive noise. And, as it happens, more than 50 years ago, Congress recognized the seriousness of the harms that excessive noise causes and, as a result, passed a law directing the EPA to take aggressive action against it.

Hannah Wiseman | November 16, 2023

Invoicing Carbon Under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

A recent Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania decision has thrown Pennsylvania’s actions on climate change into further disarray. In 2021, through regulatory action by its Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania became a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI is a collection of Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states that have agreed to cap emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from electric power plants with 25 megawatts or more of generating capacity. The cap includes an overall regional limit and a cap for each state. Power plants must purchase allowances or offset their emissions (or pursue other options noted below) to collectively meet the state cap. But lawsuits have challenged Pennsylvania’s entry into RGGI, and on November 1, a memorandum opinion of the Commonwealth Court declared that Pennsylvania’s scheme for auctioning CO2 allowances under the state’s RGGI cap was an unconstitutional tax. The court voided the rulemaking.

A family exiting their electric vehicle

Catalina Gonzalez | November 15, 2023

New Report Series Explores Equity in California’s Climate and Clean Energy Funding Programs

On November 15, I joined Member Scholar and University of San Francisco School of Law professor Alice Kaswan in releasing an in-depth analysis of California’s climate and clean energy funding programs for the state’s historically marginalized and underserved communities. The set of reports and fact sheets, "Funding a Clean and Equitable Energy Transition: Lessons from California," follows the recent publication of the Center’s California Climate Justice Index, which details the laws, executive orders, agencies, funding processes, and funding programs that shape climate policy for the nation’s most populous state.

Uma Outka | November 13, 2023

Federal-State Conflicts Over Environmental Justice — Parts I and II

In his first month in office, President Biden signed an executive order, “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad,” recommitting the federal government to climate action and environmental justice. In April 2023, an additional executive order, “Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All,” reinforced the administration’s commitment to a “whole-of-government approach to environmental justice.” The renewed commitment to environmental justice is gratifying for all who care about these issues — and the challenge of accomplishing whole-of-government implementation is real. Among numerous complicating aspects of this shift, one key challenge is state resistance — even outright hostility — to federal environmental justice priorities.

Shelley Welton | November 8, 2023

Environmental Justice via Industrial Policy

This summer, we marked the one-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the United States’ most significant climate change law. Many advocates for environmental justice, myself included, were disappointed by several features of the Act, including the greenlighting of certain fossil fuel infrastructure projects. Nevertheless, the law unlocked unprecedented streams of investment into clean energy via tax credits and direct spending mechanisms.