Reports on Water

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

Wasting Our Waterways 2012: Toxic Industrial Pollution and the Unfulfilled Promise of the Clean Water Act

Forty years after adoption of the federal Clean Water Act, industrial facilities continue to dump millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into America's rivers, streams, lakes and ocean waters. Wasting Our Waterways 2012 reviews the latest federal data on toxic releases to waterways, reinforcing the need for stronger protections to protect the public and the environment.

(March 2012)
An Unsustainable Path: Why Maryland's Manure Pollution Rules Are Failing to Protect the Chesapeake Bay

Intensive chicken production on Maryland’s Eastern Shore generates large volumes of phosphorus-laden manure. Growers and farmers spread this manure on their fields as fertilizer, but when applied in excess, the nutrients that make manure useful for fertilizing crops also contribute to dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay. An Unsustainable Path explains how Maryland’s current approach to protecting the bay from phosphorus pollution is inadequate and how the state must end the practice of spreading chicken manure on farmland that is likely to pollute the bay.

(December 2011)
America's Biggest Mercury Polluters: How Cleaning Up the Dirtiest Power Plants Will Protect Public Health

Power plants continue to release large amounts of toxic pollutants, including mercury, into our air. Mercury pollution particularly threatens fetuses and infants, who can suffer irreversible brain damage due to mercury exposure. This report ranks U.S. power plants by 2010 mercury emissions, and makes the case for new toxic pollution standards the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will finalize in December to protect public health.

(November 2011)
Leading the Way Toward a Clean Ocean: Communities Around the World Take Action Against Plastic Bags

Our oceans are polluted with millions of tons of plastic trash. Throw-away plastic bags are a significant part of the problem. In this report, we document how more than 80 national and local governments across the planet have taken action to ban throw-away plastic bags or to establish fees or taxes on such bags - protecting our environment and reducing litter.

(July 2011)
Wisconsin's Lakes at Risk: The Growing Threat of Pollution from Agriculture and Development

Runoff pollution from farms and urban areas threatens water quality in waterbodies across Wisconsin. Wisconsin's Lakes at Risk documents how manure-tainted runoff from the state's growing number of factory farms, and construction and development in urban areas are adversely affecting Wisconsin's lakes and rivers.

(April 2011)
Growing Influence: The Political Power of Agribusiness and the Fouling of America’s Waterways

The agribusiness lobby is well known as one of the most powerful in Washington, D.C., and many states. Less well known is the fact that big agribusiness interests are among the largest roadblocks to cleaner water for the American people. Big agribusiness corporations have invested millions of dollars in campaign contributions and lobbying to defend agricultural practices that pollute America’s rivers, lakes and ocean waters and to defeat common-sense measures to clean up our waterways. The time has come for public officials to resist the entrenched power of big agribusiness and implement strong measures to protect our waterways.

(February 2011)
The Shore at Risk: The Threats Facing New Jersey's Coastal Treasures and What it Will Take to Address Them

New Jersey's treasured shore is at risk. Runoff from rampant development in shore counties is contributing to declining water quality that threatens the survival of key marine species and recreational enjoyment of the shore. The Shore at Risk documents the threats facing New Jersey's coastal waters and calls for actions that can restore the shore to health.

(December 2010)
Corporate Agribusiness and America's Waterways: The Role of America's Biggest Agribusiness Companies in the Pollution of our Rivers, Lakes and Coastal Waters

Pollution from agribusiness is responsible for some of America’s most intractable water quality problems – including the “dead zones” in the Chesapeake Bay, Gulf of Mexico and Lake Erie. Corporate Agribusiness and America's Waterways reveals the role of some of the world's largest agribusiness firms in the pollution of our waterways and calls for solutions to address the problem and ensure that corporate agribusiness firms take responsibility for their pollution.

(November 2010)
Oregon's Marine Treasures: The Case for Conservation

Oregon’s ocean ecosystems are deeply stressed by fishing and other human activities that pose challenges to the coastal ecosystems that sustain seabirds, mammals, fish and countless other species. At the same time, changes in ocean currents—possibly linked to global warming—are exacerbating the stresses faced by species in Oregon’s waters. Scientific research shows that the creation of marine reserves and protected areas can play an important role in revitalizing ocean ecosystems. Oregon’s Marine Treasures argues that by creating a network of marine reserves and protected areas in Oregon’s coastal waters, the state can protect some of its most valuable and important offshore resources.

(October 2009)
Wasting Our Waterways: Toxic Industrial Pollution and the Unfulfilled Promise of the Clean Water Act

Nearly four decades after enactment of the Clean Water Act, industrial facilities continue to dump hundreds of millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into America’s rivers, streams, lakes and ocean waters. Wasting Our Waterways quantifies the amount of toxic pollution dumped into specific waterways across the United States; underscores the threat this pollution poses to the environment, wildlife, and human health; and calls for stronger enforcement of the Clean Water Act, including restoration of Clean Water Act authority over all American waterways.

(October 2009)
Using Water Wisely: Southwest Data Shows the Promise of Efficiency

Rapid population growth, excessive water consumption, water pollution, and years of drought have depleted the Southwest’s natural water reserves and put the region at greater risk of a water crisis. Without a dramatic change from business as usual, the Southwest’s water scarcity problem will only get worse as population growth and global warming impacts further exacerbate the problem. This report details existing water efficiency technologies and effective water conservation programs the six states in the Southwest could use to save as much as 5.7 million acre-feet of water per year.

(August 2008)
Protecting Wisconsin’s Water: Better Oversight of Development Is Necessary to Prevent Runoff Pollution

From the Sugar River south of Madison to the Lake Michigan shoreline, the excess flow of runoff pollution into Wisconsin’s waterways has led to serious water quality problems, including impaired drinking water quality, degraded wildlife habitat and uncontrolled sewage overflows. These problems extend downstream, from contamination in the Great Lakes to the dead zone that forms every year at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

(January 2007)
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)
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)
Overburdened Waters: How Weak Permitting and Enforcement Have Failed to Curb High Levels of Toxic Discharge into Wisconsin's Waterways

Thirty years after the passage of the Clean Water Act, Wisconsin waterways continue to be the dumping grounds for high levels of pollution. Weak enforcement of permit limits established under the Clean Water Act contribute to this pollution. Overburdened Waters: How Weak Permitting and Enforcement Have Failed to Curb High Levels of Toxic Discharge into Wisconsin’s Waterways explores some of the shortcomings of clean water enforcement in Wisconsin and suggests ways to help tackle industrial discharge of harmful pollution in the state’s waterways.

(September 2004)