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.

Testimony to the North Carolina Utilities Commission on Duke Energy Carbon Plan

Climate Justice Policy Fellow Sophie Loeb delivered testimony to the North Carolina Utilities Commission on Duke Energy's draft carbon plan in late July 2022. She expressed concerns about how the Duke Energy plan will negatively impact her and her future neighbors. She noted that rising energy costs and environmental harm hurt us all and stressed the importance of paving the way to a cleaner, greener, and more affordable energy future for all.

Type: Letters to Agencies (July 27, 2022)
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Author(s): Sophie Loeb
Comments on EPA's Worst Case Discharge Proposed Rulemaking

In public comments submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Center for Progressive Reform commended the agency for proposing a rule that aims to strengthen toxic spill response measures under the Clean Water Act. However, the Center noted the rule could more rigorously respond to the worsening impacts of the climate crisis and provided evidence and policy suggestions to support that recommendation.

Type: Letters to Agencies (July 26, 2022)
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Joint Letter to Congress in Support of the Environmental Justice for All Act

The Center for Progressive Reform joined dozens of public interest organizations in a letter supporting the Environmental Justice for All Act (H.R. 2021). The bill would begin to remedy the long history of environmental racism and injustice in communities around the country that have been forced to endure the disproportionate negative impacts to their health, environment, economic stability, and quality of life.

Type: Legislative Testimony (July 26, 2022)
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NC Interfaith Power & Light Joins Legal Fight for 'Energy Justice'

North Carolina Interfaith Power & Light, a program of the North Carolina Council of Churches, has filed a petition to intervene in the fight for energy justice in North Carolina as the state transitions to a carbon-free economy. If granted, the petition would make the faith-based environmental organization a party to legal proceedings to ensure low-wealth North Carolinians have reliable access to affordable electricity as the state moves toward clean, renewable energy.

Type: News Releases (July 13, 2022)
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Statement on West Virginia v. EPA: Supreme Court Deals Blow to Common-sense Climate Protections

Once again turning its back on bedrock precedent and the will of the American people, the U.S. Supreme Court today sent a wrecking ball through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to protect us all from climate change. More than that, though, even the still-settling dust cannot conceal the extent of the damage this decision does to our system of regulatory safeguards, as it threatens our ability to take common-sense actions to protect public health, safety, financial security, and the environment.

Type: News Releases (June 30, 2022)
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Comments on the Draft 2022 California Scoping Plan Update

Center for Progressive Reform Policy Analyst Catalina Gonzalez and Member Scholar Alice Kaswan submitted comments on California's 2022 Draft Scoping Plan Update on climate change and net-zero carbon emissions. These comments promote a vision and implementation strategies that embrace the urgent need for action and more explicitly foster improvements in well-being for the state’s frontline communities.

Type: Letters to Agencies (June 24, 2022)
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Author(s): Catalina Gonzalez, Alice Kaswan
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

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