The reports below represent a sample of Frontier Group’s work on Conservation. For more of our reports on this and related topics, please visit www.PolicyArchive.org. Full archive coming soon.
The U.S. produces immense amounts of trash. Currently, we extract natural resources to make products that we buy, use – usually briefly – and ultimately throw out. Most of these materials are dumped in landfills or burned in incinerators, creating pollution that threatens our health, environment and global climate.
Trash in America: Moving From Destructive Consumption to a Zero-Waste System lays out the details of this system, examples of communities implementing a better one, and the path to a sustainable, zero-waste economy.(February 2018)
Agriculture in the U.S. is dominated by large, specialized crop and animal farms. These industrial farms prioritize short-term productivity without regard to harmful impacts on the environment, public health or long-term agricultural production. Federal farm policies encourage this damaging approach to agriculture. Changes to key public policies can help shift how our food system operates, and better protect public health, the environment, and the future of farming.(February 2018)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been essential to cleaning up and protecting water quality in the Allegheny, the Monongahela and the Ohio rivers, collectively known as the “Three Rivers” of Western Pennsylvania, but the Trump administration has proposed deep cuts to the EPA’s budget. Rough Waters Ahead provides case studies of how the EPA has been critical to ensuring clean water in the Three Rivers basin, and why the proposed budget could undermine the agency’s ability to deter pollution and restore iconic waterbodies such as the Three Rivers.(December 2017)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been essential to cleaning up and protecting water quality in the Susquehanna River basin, but the Trump administration has proposed deep cuts to the EPA’s budget. Rough Waters Ahead provides case studies of how the EPA has been critical to ensuring clean water in the Susquehanna River basin, and why the proposed budget could undermine the agency’s ability to deter pollution and restore iconic waterbodies such as the Susquehanna River.(November 2017)
Austin, Texas, is experiencing explosive population growth and increasing suburban sprawl. Growing Greener reviews academic and other literature on the environmental benefits and potential impacts of compact development. Our findings support that well-designed compact development can deliver tangible benefits for Austin’s environment – reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, curbing the flow of polluted runoff into streams and lakes, and protecting natural areas and agricultural lands. By adopting strong policies to promote compact development and mitigate the local impacts of greater density, such as green infrastructure to manage stormwater, Austin can develop in a way that will bring lasting environmental benefits.(October 2017)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)