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 Comments on the Council on Environmental Quality's Proposed Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool

The Center for Progressive Reform joined with partners at the Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform and others to submit comments on the Council on Environmental Quality's climate and economic justice screening tool.

Type: Letters to Agencies (May 25, 2022)
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New Report Offers Tools to Strengthen 'Energy Democracy' at Key Federal Agency

The federal government can and should do more to help the public meaningfully engage in the nation’s energy policy, leveling the playing field for them against corporate special interests with outsized access and influence over energy decisions. These decisions have profound implications for public and environmental health, our ability to mitigate and adapt to climate change, our national security, and more, according to a new report by the Center for Progressive Reform.

Type: News Releases (April 27, 2022)
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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s New Office of Public Participation: A Promising Experiment in 'Energy Democracy'

It is past time for federal regulatory agencies to better engage the public and incorporate their unique on-the-ground perspectives to inform their work and make better, fairer decisions. To its credit, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is taking steps to do so and has created a new leadership role focused on environmental justice and equity. A major structural change is also underway: after decades of delay, FERC is now creating a new Office of Public Participation (OPP) to empower the public through more inclusive and responsive policymaking processes. This report provides core constituencies — agency policymakers, advocates for energy justice, and members of the public who are concerned about our energy future — with the information they need to ensure the OPP achieves its goal of promoting greater energy democracy at FERC. It begins by describing FERC’s role in energy policy and how its actions impact Americans; it then reviews FERC’s progress thus far in constituting the OPP. Finally, it offers recommendations to ensure the OPP achieves its goals and lessons to enhance regulatory democracy and equity across all federal regulatory agencies.

Type: Reports (April 27, 2022)
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Author(s): Shelley Welton, Hannah Wiseman, James Goodwin, Alexandra Klass
Testimony to the House Committee on Natural Resources on the Advancing Human Rights-Centered International Conservation Act of 2022

Member Scholar John Knox testified at a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on March 29, 2022, and discussed the Advancing Human Rights-Centered International Conservation Act of 2022 and other proposed legislation designed to ensure that human rights are advanced, respected, and protected by international conservation programs and projects.

Type: Legislative Testimony (March 29, 2022)
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Author(s): John Knox
Webinar: The False Promise of Carbon Capture in Louisiana

In this March 10 webinar co-hosted with the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, advocates and experts discussed the latest updates on the proposed rollout of carbon capture in Louisiana and how communities and advocates are responding to this threat. The Center for Progressive Reform's policy brief on the topic served as a springboard for the discussion.

Type: Webinars (March 10, 2022)
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Supreme Court Climate Skeptics Will Help Decide the Fate of the Planet

Last fall, on the same day that the parties to the Paris Agreement gathered in Glasgow for their first day of their annual international climate meeting, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would review an appellate court decision about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases from fossil fuel power plants under the Clean Air Act. Fast forward half a year: On February 28, the day that the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change issued its sobering report on climate adaptation and harms to human and planetary well-being, the court heard oral arguments in the case—West Virginia v. EPA. Once again, it was a split-screen reality.

Type: Op-Eds (March 3, 2022)
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Author(s): Karen Sokol
Joint Letter to CEQ Requesting Comment Period Extension on Carbon Capture Guidance

The Center for Progressive Reform joined dozens of other public interest organizations in a public comment period extension request for the White House Council on Environmental Quality's Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration Guidance. The groups asked the agency to extend the comment period from 30 days to at least 60 days.

Type: Letters to Agencies (Feb. 25, 2022)
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Testimony to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard

Center for Progressive Reform Senior Policy Analyst James Goodwin testified on the importance of reinstating the "necessary and appropriate" finding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's mercury and air toxics rule. The finding, rolled back during the Trump administration's deregulatory frenzy, is essential to ensure the rule stands and continues protecting all Americans — particularly children — from mercury and other dangerous toxins.

Type: Letters to Agencies (Feb. 24, 2022)
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Author(s): James Goodwin
EPA Needs to Reinstate a Critical Environmental Tool Scrapped by Trump

In its first year in office, the Biden administration has, to its credit, reversed a number of anti-environmental policies initiated by former President Donald Trump. Gone is the previous administration's infamous "two-for-one" policy, under which federal agencies had to eliminate two regulatory requirements for every new regulation they proposed. Numerous Trump-era initiatives that cut back needed air and water quality protections have also been rescinded. And, thankfully, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal agencies are once again focused on responding to the mounting dangers posed by the climate crisis. Given these steps forward, it is perplexing that the current administration has not yet restored a critical environmental tool that has proven workable and highly beneficial in past years: EPA's Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs).

Type: Op-Eds (Feb. 23, 2022)
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Author(s): Joel Mintz
Supreme Court Conservatives May Slash EPA's Authority on Climate

After the Supreme Court's decision last month rejecting the Biden vaccine mandate for large employers, it wasn't just the public health community that was asking "where do we go from here?" Environmental activists and attorneys immediately recognized that the Court's reasoning in the vaccine case, National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor, will likely lead to a win for the fossil fuel industry in the biggest environmental case of this term, West Virginia v. EPA.

Type: Op-Eds (Feb. 23, 2022)
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Author(s): Noah Sachs

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