Reports on Land Use

The reports below represent a sample of Frontier Group’s work on Land Use. For more of our reports on this and related topics, please visit Full archive coming soon.

Fracking on University of Texas Lands: The Environmental Effects of Hydraulic Fracturing on Land Owned by the University of Texas System

As the state’s flagship educational institution and a significant landholder, the University of Texas has a particular responsibility to protect the environment, Texas’ special places and public health. Fracking on university-owned lands, which fund UT and the Texas A&M System, put pressure on scarce water resources, introduced hundreds of millions of pounds of toxic substances to the environment, worsened global warming, and threatened migratory birds and endangered species. Fracking on University of Texas Lands: The Environmental Effects of Hydraulic Fracturing on Land Owned by the University of Texas System quantifies this damage this dangerous practice has wrought on university lands.

(September 2015)
Fracking by the Numbers: Key Impacts of Dirty Drilling at the State and National Level

Over the past decade, the oil and gas industry has fused two technologies—hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling—in a highly polluting effort to unlock oil and gas in underground rock formations. Fracking is already underway in 17 states, with more than 80,000 wells drilled or permitted since 2005. Fracking by the Numbers quantifies some of the key impacts of fracking to date—including the production of toxic wastewater, water use, chemicals use, air pollution, land damage and global warming emissions.

(October 2013)
The Zero Waste Solution: How 21st Century Recycling and Trash Reduction Can Protect Public Health and Boost Connecticut's Economy

Connecticut burns more of its waste than any other state in the country, generating more than half a million tons of toxic ash every year and threatening public health. Fortunately, nearly all of our trash could be reused or recycled, and policymakers can greatly increase recycling and keep trash out of incinerators and landfills by doing simple things like enforcing recycling laws already on the books, updating the Bottle Bill, and eliminating wasteful packaging. These and other common-sense policies will save money and help the state transition to a “zero waste” future.


(June 2013)
Healthy Farms, Healthy Environment: State and Local Policies to Improve Pennsylvania’s Food System and Protect Our Land and Water

Pennsylvanians increasingly want healthy, locally grown food that is produced in ways that reflect their values – including protection of the environment. The rapidly rising demand for organic food, the growth in the number of farmers markets and in community supported agriculture, and the expansion of community gardens across Pennsylvania are all indicators of a deep desire to reclaim our food system. This white paper profiles leading policy ideas that can encourage sustainable agricultural production, beginning at the farm and ending in kitchens across the the Keystone State.

(March 2013)
Securing North Carolina's Future: A Five-Year Plan for Investing in Our Land, Water and Quality of Life

Frontier Group worked with Land for Tomorrow to produce Securing North Carolina's Future, which reviews North Carolina's progress in protecting its most important natural lands and working landscapes and sets an ambitious conservation agenda for the next five years. The report concludes that North Carolina must reinvigorate its land conservation efforts to ensure a prosperous economy and high quality of life for residents. (May 2012)

(May 2012)
Grand Canyon at Risk: Uranium Mining Doesn't Belong Near Our National Treasures

Uranium mining is an industry with a bad track record. At sites ranging from a giant tailings pile next to the Colorado River near Moab, Utah, to old mines near the Grand Canyon, the industry has left radioactive contamination behind it. Opening land near the Grand Canyon to uranium exploration would threaten one of our most valuable national places, and imperil the drinking water of 25 million downstream residents.

(August 2011)
Building Maryland's Future: The Potential for Transit-Friendly Neighborhoods to Protect Open Space and Reduce Global Warming Pollution

Global warming and the loss of open space are two of the largest environmental challenges facing Maryland. The creation of compact neighborhoods near transit stations — known as "transit-oriented development" — can contribute to solving both problems. Building Maryland's Future documents the benefits for Maryland's environment of using transit-oriented development to accommodate the state's growing population.

(January 2010)
Unfulfilled Promise: The Million Acres Initiative and the Need to Protect North Carolina's Open Spaces

North Carolina is renowned for its natural beauty, but rapid development over the past several decades has threatened some of its most treasured open spaces. Recognizing the importance of preserving its natural places for future generations, North Carolina’s General Assembly established the Million Acre Initiative to protect one million acres of land between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 2009. Unfulfilled Promise highlights the state’s progress under the initiative, and documents how North Carolina fell short of its goal.

(January 2010)
Not So Smart: Land Consumption in Maryland After a Decade of “Smart Growth”

Maryland established itself as a leader in the promotion of “smart growth” following the adoption of several cutting-edge policies in the late 1990s. But weaknesses in those laws, and a lack of aggressive enforcement, have eroded their effectiveness. Not So Smart documents land consumption trends in Maryland, showing that commercial and residential sprawl continue to consume vast amounts of land in the state, threatening the state’s few remaining open spaces and its quality of life. The report recommends measures to put teeth into the state’s land-use policies.

(March 2009)
Preserving America's Natural Heritage: Lessons From States' Efforts to Fund Open Space Protection

America’s natural places represent an important part of our national heritage, but millions of acres of land have been lost in recent years to sprawling development. State programs to buy up or otherwise protect open space are a critical bulwark against the loss of important natural areas, but many such programs are underfunded. Preserving America’s Natural Heritage profiles programs in 15 states that purchase or protect open space and presents lessons states can use in designing effective programs.

(September 2008)
Unprotected Shoreline: Failures in Limiting Development Along the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays

Pollution from a variety of sources, coupled with the rampant destruction of coastal wetlands, has degraded water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, harming wildlife and threatening Marylanders’ enjoyment of the bay. To protect water quality in the bay, Maryland adopted the Critical Area Act in 1984. Unfortunately, with weak enforcement mechanisms, broad loopholes, and 64 separate jurisdictions implementing their own standards, the Critical Area Act has failed to stop many irresponsible developments that continue to threaten the health of the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries and Maryland’s Atlantic coastal bays. Addressing the shortcomings illustrated in this report could bolster Maryland’s ability to encourage development that protects the state’s natural resources.

(February 2008)
Our Natural Heritage at Risk: Threats Facing Seven of Maryland's Most Special Places

The failure to fund Maryland’s successful land conservation programs over the last few years has scaled back preservation efforts and threatened the state's unspoiled farms and forests and the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Our Natural Heritage at Risk identifies seven locations around Maryland that are threatened by development, including Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Annapolis Neck, and Patuxent River Rural Legacy Area.

(September 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)
Waterways at Risk: How Low-Impact Development Can Reduce Runoff Pollution in Michigan

In the last decade, it has become increasingly clear that irresponsible land use must be controlled in order to restore and protect Michigan waterways and the Great Lakes. Waterways at Risk identifies areas of the state vulnerable to development-caused water quality problems, and suggests policy ideas to protect and restore water resources with low-impact development and smart-growth techniques.

(October 2005)
Stronger Economies, Stronger Communities: The Benefit of Growing Greener Funding for Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania created the Growing Greener program to provide funding to protect farms, forests and open space from sprawling development. Stronger Economies, Stronger Communities: The Benefits of Growing Greener Funding for Pennsylvania illustrates the environmental and economic benefits of renewing the state’s cornerstone conservation programs by highlighting past successes in protecting Pennsylvania’s environmental resources and historic places. Increased funding for Growing Greener would bring further benefits to areas across the state.

(May 2005)