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.

Voters Strongly Support Government Regulation to Protect Climate, Health, and Future Generations

A poll conducted by the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) and Data for Progress in January 2021 finds broad public support for a progressive climate agenda that relies on regulatory action, even if it means slower economic growth. It also shows that the public opposes the process the government currently uses to assess the costs and benefits of regulations because it undervalues clean air, safe water, and a healthy climate. Poll results and analysis are available below.

Type: Reports (Feb. 25, 2021)
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Author(s): James Goodwin
Joint Written Testimony to Maryland Legislators on Creating a Private Well Water Safety Program

CPR led the development of written testimony to the Maryland House Environment and Transportation Committee on HB 1069, a bill to create a private well water safety program in the state. Twenty-three organizations joined CPR in submitting the testimony.

Type: Legislative Testimony (Feb. 24, 2021)
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Legislation Needed to Protect Maryland Well Owners

If you’re one of roughly 2 million Marylanders whose drinking water comes from a private well, you or your property owner is responsible for maintaining the well and ensuring its water is safe — no exceptions. That’s because federal clean water laws don’t cover private wells or small water systems, and state-level protections vary dramatically. In Maryland, those protections are few and far between.

Type: Op-Eds (Feb. 8, 2021)
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Author(s): Darya Minovi
Localizing the Green Energy Revolution

As President Biden continues to roll out executive orders prioritizing climate change, it is increasingly clear that there will be a relatively rapid U.S. shift toward renewable energy from the sun, wind and other sources. Indeed, many states are already pushing ahead with ambitious renewable and clean energy policies. These policies will reduce air pollution, spur extensive economic development in rural areas and make progress on the climate front. This “revolution,” as Biden calls it, is critical. But the bulk of renewables that have been built in the United States are large, centralized projects requiring thousands of miles of transmission lines — primarily in rural communities. A revolution that continues to prioritize these projects risks failure.

Type: Op-Eds (Feb. 2, 2021)
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Author(s): Hannah Wiseman
New National Poll Finds Americans Prioritize Environmental Protections over Faster Economic Growth by Overwhelming Margins

A new poll released by Data for Progress and the Center for Progressive Reform finds broad public support for a progressive climate agenda that relies on regulatory action, even if it means slower economic growth. It also shows that the public opposes the process the government currently uses to assess the costs and benefits of regulations because it undervalues clean air, safe water, and a healthy climate.

Type: News Releases (Feb. 2, 2021)
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Author(s): Brian Gumm, James Goodwin
The Climate Change Lawsuits Against Big Oil, Explained

Big Tobacco’s Master Settlement Agreement in 1998 was the largest civil settlement in the nation’s history and a transformative moment in the industry’s control. The accord reached by 46 states, five United States territories, and the District of Columbia required tobacco manufacturers to pay the states billions of dollars annually in compensation for the public health crisis their products had created. Today, an even bigger crisis looms, with increasing demands for accountability. Over a dozen federal cases have now been filed against oil companies, seeking damages for their role in causing climate change. With one exception, the cases have been brought by states or local governments that claim they and their citizens are suffering harm from climate change.

Type: Op-Eds (Jan. 29, 2021)
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Author(s): Daniel Farber
Webinar: Protecting Maryland Drinking Water from Toxic Pollution

Dangerous nitrate pollution has contaminated private drinking water wells and public water utilities in several regions across the United States, posing a significant threat to people's health. A recent Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) report indicates that this problem has reached Maryland's Lower Eastern Shore, an agricultural area that's home to hundreds of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) that house millions of chickens. In our January 25 webinar, participants heard from state legislators and an environmental health expert who are supporting legislative measures to provide greater protections for Maryland families who drink well water.

Type: Webinars (Jan. 25, 2021)
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Author(s): Darya Minovi, Katlyn Schmitt
Trump's Big Gamble to Gut U.S. Power Plant Emissions Rules Loses in Court, Opening a Door for New Climate Rules

Joe Biden got a big judicial win for his climate agenda just hours before his inauguration as U.S. president. The case involved federal plans for cutting power plant emissions and a big gamble by the Trump administration.

Type: Op-Eds (Jan. 20, 2021)
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Author(s): Daniel Farber
Biden Has a Congressional Shortcut to Cancel Trump's Regulatory Rollbacks, but It Comes with Risks

The Trump administration dedicated itself to deregulation with unprecedented fervor. It rolled back scores of regulations across government agencies, including more than 80 environmental rules. The Biden administration can reverse some of those actions quickly – for instance, as president, Joe Biden can undo Donald Trump’s executive orders with a stroke of the pen. He plans to restore U.S. involvement in the Paris climate agreement that way on his first day in office. Undoing most regulatory rollbacks, however, will require a review process that can take years, often followed by further delays during litigation. There is an alternative, but it comes with risks.

Type: Op-Eds (Jan. 18, 2021)
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Author(s): Daniel Farber
From Rhetoric to Reality: Achieving Climate Justice

In an op-ed published in The Hill, CPR Member Scholars Shalanda Baker and Alice Kaswan offer recommendations for moving from rhetoric to reality when it comes to delivering climate and energy justice to America's communities.

Type: Op-Eds (Jan. 4, 2021)
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Author(s): Shalanda H. Baker, Alice Kaswan

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