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.

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
State Courts Should Hear Cities' Climate Deception Lawsuits

On Jan. 25, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held oral argument in Baltimore v. BP PLC, a case in which the city is seeking to hold BP and other fossil fuel companies liable in state court for their systematic deceptive marketing campaign to hide the catastrophic dangers of their products. The goal of their decades-long, ongoing disinformation campaign: to lock in a fossil-fuel based society—and continue reaping astronomical profits—even during a fossil fuel-driven climate emergency. Other cities, counties, and states have brought similar suits in their state courts, all invoking long-standing state deceptive marketing laws. So why is Baltimore's case before a federal appellate court? The panel's three judges wanted to know—and the answer is more misrepresentation.

Type: Op-Eds (Feb. 18, 2022)
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Author(s): Karen Sokol
Joint Letter to the House Natural Resources Committee in Support of the Environmental Justice for All Act

Darya Minovi of the Center for Progressive Reform joined leaders and experts from other public interest organizations in a letter to the House Natural Resources Committee in support of the Environmental Justice for All Act (H.R. 2021).

Type: Legislative Testimony (Feb. 15, 2022)
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Comments on EPA Environmental Justice Action Plan

The Center for Progressive Reform submitted feedback to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Land and Emergency Management regarding its Draft Environmental Justice Action Plan. The feedback notes that while the draft action plan is a necessary step to ensuring environmental justice impacts and benefits are proactively considered in the office's programs, there are opportunities to strengthen existing strategies. The feedback also urges EPA to consider additional strategies under the office's authority and with environmental justice implications that are currently missing from the draft plan.

Type: Letters to Agencies (Feb. 7, 2022)
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Author(s): Darya Minovi, David Flores, James Goodwin, Katlyn Schmitt
Disaster at Winston-Salem Fertilizer Plant Is Unacceptable, Unnecessary, and Entirely Preventable

A fire that erupted Monday night at a fertilizer plant in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, continues to burn endangering thousands of people in the area who have had to evacuate or shelter-in-place. The threat of a deadly explosion remains as the fire continues to burn out of control, threatening the health and safety of the nearby communities. This tragic chemical disaster poses unacceptable risk to those who live, work, or go to school near facilities like this, yet they regularly happen all over the United States, despite being entirely preventable. Communities at the fenceline of the chemical industry in other communities live daily with similar harm and threat due to major gaps in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) federal rules on hazardous chemical storage, use, and industrial facility safety. It’s time for the EPA to prevent these harmful chemical disasters once and for all.

Type: News Releases (Feb. 2, 2022)
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