Our Research

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Looking for Funds in All the Wrong Places: How Out-of-District Fundraising Weakens Democracy in North Carolina

Out-of-district financial contributions from special interests and wealthy individuals undermine democracy in North Carolina by reducing the influence of citizens who live in a candidate’s district. Looking for Funds in All the Wrong Places analyzes contributions to 10 powerful members of North Carolina’s Legislature during their 2006 campaigns to determine how much funding came from outside the candidates’ districts. On average, 74 percent of funding came from outside the district, including 14 percent from outside the state. North Carolina should adopt a public financing system for legislative campaigns to address this problem.

(April 2007)
The High Cost of Nuclear Power: Why Maryland Can't Afford a Nuclear Reactor

Constellation Energy has proposed building a third reactor at the Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant in Maryland. The High Cost of Nuclear Power shows that building a new reactor would be expensive, threaten public health and safety, and damage the environment. Maryland should refuse to subsidize construction of a new reactor and instead invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

(March 2007)
Unnecessary Hazards: How Safer Alternatives Can Reduce Our Exposure to Toxic Chemicals

Connecticut citizens are exposed to thousands of harmful toxic chemicals in the course of daily life. However, unlike pharmaceutical drugs, most of these chemicals have not been tested for safety. Unnecessary Hazards explores 10 types of chemicals that contaminate Connecticut’s homes and environment and put our health at risk. The report concludes that, for each type of chemical, safer alternatives exist. Moreover, they can be implemented at minimal cost, or even net savings. By requiring the use of safer alternatives for dangerous chemicals found in commerce, Connecticut can protect its environment, workers, and families – without harming the strength of Connecticut’s business and industry community.

(February 2007)
Energizing Michigan’s Economy: Creating Jobs and Reducing Pollution with Energy Efficiency and Renewable Electric Power

Michigan is facing serious choices about the future of its electricity system. With a growing demand for electricity, the state is considering building new coal-fired or nuclear power plants to meet its electricity needs. However, Energizing Michigan’s Economy shows that a serious program to improve the efficiency of electricity use and tap into the state’s home-grown renewable energy resources would have stronger benefits for the state economy. Such a New Energy Future would create jobs, save consumers money, stabilize energy prices, make Michigan more energy independent, reduce long-term economic and environmental risk from global warming pollution and ensure that more of Michigan’s energy dollars stay in the local economy, as opposed to paying for coal, gas and uranium from out of state.

(February 2007)
Energy for Colorado's Economy: Creating Jobs and Economic Growth with Renewable Energy

In November 2004, the citizens of Colorado became the first in the nation to vote on and pass a statewide renewable energy requirement. Xcel Energy, the state’s largest investor-owned utility, responded by signing contracts for 775 megawatts of new wind farms in Colorado in 2006, demonstrating that the requirement could be met easily and quickly. Energy for Colorado’s Economy quantifies the benefits of setting the bar even higher, requiring the state’s top utilities to reach 20 percent renewable energy by 2020, concluding that a deeper commitment to renewable power will create more jobs, stimulate the economy, stabilize energy prices and further reduce the long-term economic and environmental risk from global warming pollution.

(February 2007)