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 www.PolicyArchive.org. Full archive coming soon.
When coal-fired power plants burn coal, they leave behind toxic ash waste. Often, this ash waste is stored in uncovered ponds that are susceptible to leaks and spills. An analysis of the nation's coal ash ponds finds that many lie on the banks of vulnerable waterways, and pose critical threats to the environment and public health.(April 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 Puget Sound, 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 Puget Sound, and why the proposed budget could undermine the agency’s ability to deter pollution and restore iconic waterbodies such as Puget Sound.(September 2017)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been essential to cleaning up and protecting water quality in the Great Lakes, 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 Great Lakes, and why the proposed budget could undermine the agency’s ability to deter pollution and restore iconic waterbodies such as the Great Lakes.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been essential to cleaning up and protecting water quality in the Delaware River watershed, 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 Delaware River basin, and why the proposed budget could undermine the agency’s ability to deter pollution and restore iconic waterbodies such as the Delaware River.
Flooding has caused significant damage in Texas in recent years, and pollution from stormwater runoff poses a persistent threat to local waterways. As more land is paved over and climate change increases the frequency of heavy rains, the risk of flooding is likely to increase. Catching the Rain explains how green stormwater infrastructure can be a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly way to limit future damage from flooding and stormwater pollution.(February 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)
In the early 1970s, many American rivers and streams were contaminated with toxic industrial pollution, choked with untreated sewage and trash, and, in many cases, devoid of aquatic life.
In 2014, 42 years after the passage of the Clean Water Act, many of these formerly degraded waterways are returning to health. But at least one-third of the country’s rivers, streams and lakes are not yet safe for fishing and swimming.
Our 15 case studies show that when the Clean Water Act applies to waterways, it is a powerful and effective tool for improving water quality for humans and wildlife.(October 2014)
South Portland, Maine, became “ground zero” for the tar sands debate when residents, in partnership with several statewide environmental groups, qualified a ballot initiative to stop the oil industry from establishing Portland Harbor as the U.S. East Coast shipping hub for tar sands’ entry into the world market. In response, Big Oil launched a massive, $750,000 campaign to defeat the initiative in a city of just 25,000 people. Using Big Oil’s campaign to defeat South Portland’s Waterfront Protection Ordinance as a case study, this report describes the tools and tactics the industry can be expected to use to keep alive the possibility of shipping tar sands oil out of Portland Harbor.(July 2014)
More than 40 years after passage of the Clean Water Act, industrial polluters continue to release more than 206 million pounds of toxic chemicals into America’s waterways each year. Wasting Our Waterways quantifies the amount of industrial pollution released into individual rivers, lakes and other waterways nationwide, names the states and waterways with the greatest releases of chemicals linked to environmental toxicity and human health problems, and issues a call to action to restore the promise of the federal Clean Water Act.(June 2014)
Factory farms threaten the health of Illinois’s rivers, lakes and streams. Across the state, large-scale releases of animal waste and other forms of pollution have fouled local waterways to the point where some can no longer sustain important uses such as swimming, fishing, drinking, or the maintenance of healthy populations of wildlife. This case study report highlights five specific instances of factory farm pollution damaging local waterways, and includes policy recommendations for stronger regulation and enforcement of these facilities in Illinois.(February 2014)
State decision-makers charged with keeping Wisconsin’s water clean have allowed industrial farming operations to spread, even though livestock operations have already polluted thousands of acres of lakes and hundreds of miles of rivers. As this report explores, the state’s failure to protect waterways from factory farming is the result of years of lobbying by powerful corporate agribusiness interests. To protect Wisconsin’s precious lakes and rivers, state officials must stand up to pressure from factory farming lobbyists, refuse to permit new factory farms, and ensure that existing ones follow the law.(December 2013)
Excessive water withdrawals threaten many of Texas’ most important and beloved rivers. Rivers are a central element of our natural heritage, but wasteful water use is harming wildlife, economically important estuaries, and the basic well-being of our communities. Down to the Last Drop highlights five rivers where water withdrawals present a threat to wildlife and ecosystems. Some rivers have already been devastated by wasteful water use; others are under threat from new water projects that would withdraw more water or fundamentally change the river.(November 2013)
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)
“Fracking” operations pose a staggering array of threats to our environment and health – many of them with significant “dollars and cents” costs. Current federal and state laws are supposed to hold drillers accountable for cleaning up well sites and compensating those who might be harmed by drilling activity, but are wholly inadequate to protect the public. Who Pays the Costs of Fracking? documents the current state of financial assurance rules for oil and gas drilling and lays out a policy roadmap for ensuring that the oil and gas industry bears the full cost of the damage it inflicts on the environment and public health.(July 2013)