Frontier Group Summer update
At Frontier Group we work to clarify and illuminate the public policy choices facing our society. This spring and summer, we’ve highlighted the opportunities presented by emerging clean energy sources such as solar power, the challenges of dirty energy practices such as fracking, and the important implications of changing driving patterns on U.S. transportation policy.
Lighting the way to a solar energy future: Our July 2013 report Lighting the Waydocumented the rapid growth of solar energy in 12 leading states and linked their progress to the adoption of a series of pro-solar public policies. These 12 states represent more than 85 percent of all solar energy capacity in the U.S. – indicating that their approach to building a solar future is working – and showing that the pathway they followed to solar energy leadership is available to any state. The report, written in coordination with Environment America Research & Policy Center, earned coverage inUSA Today, the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets nationwide. … In June, Frontier Group released A Million Solar Roofs for Colorado, the latest in a series of reports documenting the tremendous potential of solar energy in a variety of states, including Washington, Oregon and North Carolina.
Reacting to changing transportation trends: A New Direction, the May 2013 follow-up to our groundbreaking 2012 report on changing transportation trends among young Americans, kicked off an important conversation about the implications of reduced driving for transportation policy. The report (produced with U.S. PIRG Education Fund) declared an end to the six decade-long “Driving Boom” in the United States and examined three possible futures for vehicle travel. The report attracted attention fromThe New York Times, the Denver Postand Reuters, and sparked lively conversation in the transportation policy world on blogs such as The Atlantic Monthly‘s Atlantic Citiesblog and Streetsblog.… Later in May, Frontier Group teamed up with WISPIRG Foundation to release Road Overkill, which compared actual traffic counts on several recently built or expanded Wisconsin highways with the original projections used to justify those projects, finding that traffic on many of those roads has failed to meet expectations. The report’s findings have been cited in the public debate over several new proposed highway expansion projects in Wisconsin.
Holding drillers accountable for the costs of fracking: “Fracking” operations pose a staggering array of threats to our environment and health – but the laws that are supposed to hold drillers accountable for cleaning up well sites and compensating those who might be harmed by drilling activity are wholly inadequate to protect the public. Who Pays the Costs of Fracking? (written with Environment America Research & Policy Center) details these problems and lays out a policy roadmap for ensuring that the oil and gas industry bears the full cost of damage to the environment and public health.
Other highlights: Frontier Group’s new report with ConnPIRG Education Fund, The Zero Waste Solution, proposes common-sense recycling and waste reduction strategies for Connecticut, which burns or buries more of its trash than any other state in the country. … The Frontier Group blog called attention to new advances in state government budget transparency, as well as new data released by Medicare showing enormous price variances among hospitals for the 100 most common procedures – variances even larger than those observed in our 2012 analysis of charges by California hospitals for the 12 most common surgeries.
Looking forward to fall: This fall will bring new Frontier Group reports on the impacts of smartphones and other new mobile technologies on Americans’ transportation choices, the continued opportunities for increased use of solar power on California homes and North Carolina businesses, the growing impacts of fracking nationwide, the importance of reducing pollution from the nation’s dirtiest power plants, and the initial experiences of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in responding to consumer complaints about banks, credit card companies and other financial firms.
Your engagement and support – whether you are a funder, reviewer, colleague, leader of a partner organization, member of the media, or simply a consumer of our reports – makes the work we do possible and helps us make an impact in the world. Thank you for all you do and best wishes for the months ahead.
Susan Rakov, Director
Tony Dutzik, Senior Policy Analyst
Elizabeth Ridlington, Travis Madsen, Ben Davis and Jordan Schneider, Policy Analysts
Tom Van Heeke, Judee Burr and Miles Unterreiner, Policy Associates