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March newsletter: Trouble in the air for 108 million Americans

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Millions of Americans breathed polluted air in 2018

In 2018, 108 million Americans lived in areas that experienced more than 100 days of degraded air quality. On those days, ground-level ozone (the main ingredient in smog) and/or particulate pollution were above the level that the EPA has determined presents “little to no risk.” This was the key finding of Trouble in the Air, our new report with Environment America Research & Policy Center. The report recommends policy steps to reduce air pollution, particularly from the transportation and electricity sectors, such as expanding the use of zero-emission vehicles and renewable energy.

A plan to decarbonize America’s transportation system

America’s transportation system produces more carbon pollution than any other sector of our economy. Our vehicles are responsible for more annual greenhouse gas emissions than the entire economies of France and the United Kingdom combined. Destination: Zero Carbon, written with Environment America Research and Policy Center, found that a clean, efficient, and sustainable low-carbon transportation system is possible, and proposes three goals - electrifying vehicles, electrifying buses, and doubling the number of people who travel by foot, bike and transit - that can get us there.

America’s special places need a fully funded Land and Water Conservation Fund

Many of America’s mountains, forests, deserts, lakes, and canyons are under threat due to the federal government’s failure to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program that protects natural lands and ensures public access to outdoor recreation. But those funds have too often been diverted to fill holes in non-conservation budgets, leaving established public treasures without adequate protection. Protecting the Places We Love, written with Environment Nevada Research & Policy Center, describes the need for full funding, and documents the program’s role in protecting many of Nevada’s most treasured natural areas.

In other news

Associate director and senior policy analyst Tony Dutzik guest lectured at MIT in Andrew Salzberg’s course on The Future of Urban Mobility . . . On the Frontier Group blog, policy analyst Adrian Pforzheimer wrote about how government vehicle fleets, including police cars, offer key opportunities for vehicle electrification . . . Managing director Susan Rakov wrote about how a sense of wonder - in this case, sparked by a surprising video of a coyote and a badger - can be a powerful agent for social change . . . Policy analyst RJ Cross spoke to Streetsblog USA about the factors contributing to risky auto lending and the steep rise in auto debt.

Coming soon...

Frontier Group is collaborating with U.S. PIRG and the National Taxpayers Union on an upcoming report that will propose cuts to unnecessary or wasteful federal spending . . . The next edition of Shining Cities, a ranking of America’s top solar cities, is currently slated for an April release.

Photo: Eric Demarcq via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.