News - Environmental Data and Analysis

The New Republic reports that the massive Aliso Canyon storage field, which contained more than 110 underground wells, is just a small part of America’s much larger natural gas infrastructure. Approximately 15,000 such wells are active across the United States, and nearly half of them are concentrated in six states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan, New York, and California.

A Harvard study published in the Journal of Environmental Health found that around 65% of active natural gas storage (UGS) wells in the United States are located in suburban residential areas—not more sparsely populated commercial, industrial, or even rural areas like many new unconventional wells. The Nicholas Institute's Kate Konschnik was a co-author on the study.

The latest episode of Ways & Means, a podcast presented by the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, looks at who will take the hardest hit financially from climate change and whether anything can be done about it. The episode features an interview with Billy Pizer, an environmental economist with joint appointments as a professor at the Sanford School and as a faculty fellow at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

The waters of the South China Sea face environmental peril that is "inseparable from the territorial disputes that plague it." Scientific cooperation is an action without legitimate substitute in the region and can offer a chart for protecting marine environments while enjoying their bounty sustainably, write the Nicholas Institute's Jackson Ewing and the University of South Carolina's James Borton in East Asia Forum.

Hurricane Florence brought much damage to the North Carolina coast and it’s clear that the work of recovery will take years. The expertise of Duke faculty will contribute to that work.

In The Chronicle, The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions' Lauren Patterson and Martin Doyle discuss their research project investigating the target levels and management goals over time of dams and reservoirs. 

Over the past week, rivers in North Carolina have broken previous flood records, many of which were set by Hurricane Matthew just two years earlier, write Martin Doyle and Lauren Patterson in the Herald Sun.

Hurricane Florence dropped two to three feet of rain, causing major flooding along the Cape Fear, Lumberton, and Neuse rivers—destroying property and highlighting the limits of our country’s infrastructure, write Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions' Martin Doyle and Lauren Patterson in the News & Observer. 

Water infrastructure in the western United States was funded in the early and mid-20th Century by federal financing through the Bureau of Reclamation, but such financing has declined in recent decades and there has been increased interest in alternative approaches to infrastructure funding.

The United States is awash in water data—the power of which has yet to be unleashed. To realize the dormant value of the data, say some producers and users, would require making them widely shareable in standardized digital formats, thereby allowing their real-time aggregation for a host of purposes beyond those that spurred their original collection. They believe that opening the data and investing in water data infrastructure would set in motion a wave of innovation, leading to more sustainable management of our water resources.