As 2019 dawns, the world is changing at breakneck speed. Political actions and reactions, unnatural disasters fueled by a changing climate, game-changing new technology…. the rapid pace of change is exhilarating and disorienting, bringing vexing challenges and unprecedented opportunities.
Frontier Group provides information and ideas to help citizens and decision-makers navigate these changes and steer America toward a more sustainable and vibrant society. Here’s a look back on some of what we accomplished in 2018….
Promoting the Growth of Clean Energy
The rise of renewable energy in America is leading to cleaner air and opening new opportunities to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. In 2018, Frontier Group celebrated that progress and identified policies to accelerate our transition away from fossil fuels…. Our Solar Homes report found that if every state adopted California’s new policy requiring solar panels on new homes, America could more than triple our current solar energy capacity by 2045 and cut CO2 emissions equivalent to taking 34 million of today’s cars off the road…. Updates of our Shining Cities and Renewables on the Rise reports documented the continued rapid growth in renewable energy…. Making Sense of Energy Storage looked at how battery technology and smart energy policies can work together to allow more clean energy into the grid…. Produced with our partners at Environment America Research & Policy Center, our reports on clean energy were covered by CBS News, the Financial Times and The Houston Chronicle, among others.
Protecting Our Health and Environment
Every American should have access to safe water, clean air and a healthy environment. Yet, threats to these basic resources still exist in our country today…. Our unique interactive map of water quality threats in the Delaware River Basin depicted more than 5,000 industrial polluters, hazardous waste sites and other potential sources of pollution in the region…. Troubled Waters showed that even with the Clean Water Act in place, polluters often face weak, if any, consequences for violating the law…. The first report in our Accidents Waiting to Happen series warned of the dangers of coal ash ponds and the potential for this industrial waste to find its way into our waterways. Our work on the issue was picked up by The New York Times in its coverage of Hurricane Florence.
Moving Towards a Clean Transportation Future
Our nation’s car-oriented transportation system is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country and a major source of air pollution…. The fourth edition of Highway Boondoggles, produced with U.S. PIRG Education Fund, highlighted some of the most wasteful highway projects in the nation and called for a better use of our fiscal resources…. Plugging In charted the rise in electric vehicles in America and argued that the coming influx of electric cars demands more and better infrastructure for battery charging…. Communities across the country are making changes to help usher in a new era of transportation. For our report, The Road to Clean Transportation, we worked with WISPIRG Foundation, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin and the RE-AMP coalition to examine how electrification, land use change and investment in safe biking and walking infrastructure can help clean and decarbonize the Midwest, and shared our findings with local advocates at a strategy summit in Chicago in August…. Our transportation work earned attention from Forbes, The Washington Post, The Associated Press and The Boston Globe, among others.
The Consumer’s Watchdog
During a time when federal oversight is waning, the need for a consumer watchdog is greater than ever. Partnering with our friends at U.S. PIRG Education Fund, we worked throughout 2018 to protect American consumers from fraud and unfair business practices…. Our report Debt Collectors used complaint data collected by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to identify the companies triggering the most complaints and using the most egregious tactics for debt collection…. Spending on healthcare makes up almost 18 percent of our nation’s GDP. Yet, when patients and doctors make decisions about their health, they often do so without knowing anything about the costs. Improving Price Transparency argues that giving consumers and providers better access to information will lead to lower costs and a more empowering patient experience. Our consumer reports in 2018 earned coverage from Bloomberg, The Business Journal, MSN and an editorial in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
In Other News
Senior policy analyst Tony Dutzik spoke at Rail~volution about how to better position transit as a climate solution. Policy analyst Alana Miller highlighted the potential of electric buses at an event hosted by Environment America at the Global Climate Summit in San Francisco, and policy analyst Abi Bradford participated in Meeting of the Minds, a conference bringing together leaders on technology and urban sustainability…. Our staff provided meaningful commentary to national and local news outlets. Director Susan Rakov argued for a re-examination of our “throw-away economy” in the Los Angeles Times. Policy analyst Gideon Weissman documented the unacceptably high odds of buying an unrepaired recalled vehicle at used car dealer CarMax. Senior policy analyst Elizabeth Ridlington talked with Boston’s public radio station WBUR about the causes and effects of air pollution. Alana Miller’s piece on threats to Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park by oil and gas companies was published by CNN.com. Policy analyst Rachel J. Cross put the spotlight on a little-discussed contributor to falling transit ridership – easy auto credit – in a piece for Streetsblog, and Tony Dutzik argued in The Hill that we need to offer the American people a better vision of a society without fossil fuels.
In 2019, Frontier Group will continue to produce timely and informative research on the most pressing environmental and consumer issues. Look for our January report on what newly elected state governors can do in their states to act on the climate crisis.
Wishing you a wonderful, meaningful and happy new year.
Susan Rakov, Director
Tony Dutzik and Elizabeth Ridlington, Senior Policy Analysts
Alana Miller, Gideon Weissman, Rachel J. Cross and Abigail Bradford, Policy Analysts
Meryl Compton and Jon Sundby, Policy Associates
Managing Director, Frontier Group; Senior Vice President, The Public Interest Network
Susan Rakov is the Director of Frontier Group, The Public Interest Network's research and policy development center. Frontier Group’s work informs public debate about degradations to the environment and public health, threats to consumer rights and democracy, and the available routes to a better future. Susan lives with her family in Santa Barbara, Calif., where she is an advocate for public education and an amateur singer/songwriter.