A team of researchers from Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering; Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability; and the Nicholas School of the Environment assessed the finances of 301 North Carolina water utilities and identified a significant and growing group of communities facing a conflicting dilemma of water affordability and utility cost recovery.
Members of Duke University's Plastic Pollution Working Group examine the unequal distribution of benefits and burdens of plastics. They find the benefits of plastics to communities and stakeholders are principally economic, whereas their burdens fall largely on human health. The report stresses the need for policy design to include health burdens to all impacted stakeholders across all plastic life stages and urges the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to consider harmful effects across the entire plastic lifecycle and to apply the precautionary principle when drafting the upcoming international global plastic treaty.
Energy insecurity—the inability to maintain energy services like heating and cooling—is one of the most pressing issues in the Southeast, where more than one out of every four households face access or affordability challenges. The Southeast Energy Insecurity Stakeholder Initiative facilitated broad, collaborative discussions among a range of regional stakeholders to identify opportunities for reducing energy insecurity in the region.
The Effect of Pennsylvania's 500 ft Surface Setback Regulation on Siting Unconventional Natural Gas Wells Near Buildings: An Interrupted Time-Series Analysis
This study evaluates the Pennsylvania state policy that set back the unconventional natural gas well-to-building requirement from 200 ft. to 500 ft. and finds that exemptions are an important and underappreciated aspect of oil and gas well setback rulemaking and highlights the relevance of other health-protective regulatory tools often promulgated alongside setbacks.
Housing Precarity & the COVID-19 Pandemic: Impacts of Utility Disconnection and Eviction Moratoria on Infections and Deaths Across US Counties
The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated the adoption of a number of policies that aim to reduce the spread of the disease by promoting housing stability. Housing precarity, which includes both the risk of eviction and utility disconnections or shut-offs, reduces a person’s ability to abide by social distancing orders and comply with hygiene recommendations. Our analysis quantifies the impact of these various economic policies on COVID-19 infection and death rates using panel regression techniques to control for a variety of potential confounders.
To estimate the social cost of carbon dioxide for use in regulatory impact analyses, the federal government should use a new framework that would strengthen the scientific basis, provide greater transparency, and improve characterization of the uncertainties of the estimates, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report also identifies a number of near- and longer-term improvements that should be made for calculating the social cost of carbon.
This report from the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Kenan Institute for Ethics summarizes discussion from a roundtable with experts from Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University and Research Triangle Institute that explored the multiple starting points for environmental justice research in the Triangle area.