Our Research

Making Sense of the "Coal Rush": The Consequences of Expanding America's Dependence on Coal

As of June 2006, energy companies are proposing to build 150 new coal-fired plants across America, investing up to $137 billion. If energy companies succeed in building even a fraction of these new power plants, it would have major impacts on America’s environment and economy, and consume investment dollars that could otherwise promote more sustainable energy sources like energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Making Sense of the Coal Rush describes the dangers posed by an ill-considered rush to build coal-fired power plants and proposes policy changes and other actions that can put America on a more sensible energy path.

(July 2006)
Rising to the Challenge: Six Steps to Cut Global Warming Pollution in the United States

Global warming is real and is happening now. Scientists tell us that, to avoid the worst consequences of global warming, we need to begin reducing our emissions of global warming soon. Rising to the Challenge describes six strategies the United States can use to reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide – the leading global warming pollutant – by 19 percent by 2020. The report recommends several steps America can take to use energy more efficiently and to tap America’s abundant renewable energy resources, which can reduce the nation’s emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel use.

(July 2006)
Protecting Our Natural Heritage: The Value of Land Conservation in Georgia

For decades, planning and growth around Atlanta has encouraged and abetted sprawl and discouraged land conservation. Conventional wisdom held that land preservation, while offering important social benefits, drained local government finances and did not contribute to economic growth. However, Georgia’s natural heritage is much more than scenery—it is the foundation of a strong economy, providing value for the state and its people in many ways. Protecting our Natural Heritage presents a series of case studies showing that additional tools for land preservation will provide tangible economic returns for communities across the state.

(June 2006)
Mercury Pollution in Maryland: A Comprehensive Look at Contamination of Fish in Local Waterways

Maryland newborns and children each year. Mercury Pollution in Maryland presents an analysis of data from nearly 2,000 fish tested by state agencies; 59 percent of the fish contained enough mercury to present a potential health risk. Though Maryland has already established limits on mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants and banned mercury-containing thermostats, the state must do more to protect citizens from mercury by ending medical and municipal waste incineration and collecting mercury-based products.

(April 2006)
Challenging Nuclear Power in the States: Policy and Organizing Tools for Slowing the "Nuclear Renaissance"

For the first time in more than three decades, there are viable proposals to build new nuclear power plants in the United States. Given the nuclear industry’s history of cost overruns and safety problems, Americans need a strong watchdog to protect their interests. Unfortunately, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has a poor track record of ensuring nuclear safety and federal law proscribes states from adopting their own regulations to protect the public. Challenging Nuclear Power in the States describes a series of policy and regulatory tools that citizens and advocates can use to challenge the expansion of nuclear power in the United States.

(April 2006)

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