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In December, the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) decided to keep strong net metering in California for years to come. The decision, made over the objections of the state’s biggest utilities, is a testament to the popularity of solar power, and will allow California to ramp up its solar economy while reducing global warming emissions and driving down the price of solar panel.

Over the last decade and a half, one major source of T revenue has actually grown at a faster rate than operating expenses: transit fares.

This weekend, for my son’s birthday party, we invited a handful of his friends to meet us in downtown Santa Rosa for a movie and then a bus ride back to our house for cake and games. The eight first-graders loved both the movie and riding the bus. For me, the day’s travel experiences highlighted how transportation pricing and land use requirements don’t square with enabling people to drive less (as many people say they wish were possible) or with Sonoma County’s pledge to reduce its global warming pollution.

2015 was the warmest year on Earth since recordkeeping began in 1880. Furthermore, temperatures in 2015 broke the previous record, set in 2014, by the largest margin ever recorded.

Last month, the Nevada Public Utility Commission voted to put in place new rates and charges for solar customers that could kill the growth of residential solar energy in Nevada. Since the new rates apply retroactively to existing solar customers, they are being felt as a betrayal of trust by Nevadans who have already invested in solar energy.

The number of transit trips taken in the Boston area increased by 11 percent between 2008 and 2014 – faster than that of any of the nation’s other top 10 transit cities.

Americans continued to drive fewer miles on average in 2014 than they did 17 years earlier, in 1997.

The big money in the U.S. isn’t flowing into streetcars or even transit in general. It never has. Instead, it continues to flow, as always, into the expansion of our nation’s highway network.

Whether you are a long-time ally of Frontier Group or a new friend, we are grateful for your partnership in our work to provide information and ideas for a cleaner, healthier, fairer and more democratic America.

 Here are a few of the highlights of that work over the past year.

 

America’s drive toward a clean energy future got a big boost this week after Congress renewed two key tax incentives for renewable electricity—the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

In public policy, as in much of life, garbage in tends to lead to garbage out.

If you had ever aspired to own a big, luxury SUV or wanted to buy a tricked-out new pickup for work, 2015 has been your year.

At a time when demand for transit in Boston is booming, we need to focus on approaches that are more likely to set off a “virtuous cycle” of rising ridership and revenue for the T, not a downward spiral.

Transit’s role in efficiently moving large numbers of people to and through our cities will remain important even in a world of driverless cars.

Our new interactive extreme weather map, released with Environment America, shows weather-related disasters in every U.S. county over the last five years.

Fracking threatens health in Pennsylvania and Texas; a national network of special interests is attacking solar energy; roads still don't pay for themselves... and more.

The trend toward vehicle leasing is consistent with what appears to be a broader shift to a “rentership society” and may signal that Americans are willing to change their relationship with their cars from one that is long-term and durable to one that is contingent and flexible.

Antibiotic resistant infections kill tens of thousands of American each year. So it was encouraging to see two actions to reduce the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms taken in October: A new policy in California to restrict antibiotic overuse on livestock, and an announcement by Subway that it will phase out the sale of meat raised with antibiotics over the coming years.

For now, low interest rates, long loan terms and generous lease deals are enabling many consumers to get “more car” than they otherwise dreamed possible. But the intoxicating feeling of driving an exciting new car comes with a potential hangover down the road.

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