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State Policy Program

Decision makers at the state and local levels need data and analyses to design and implement policies that contribute to the overall health of our environment and economy.

The State Policy Program provides analysis and tools to help local, state, regional, and federal decision makers design cost-effective policies and practices to protect valuable resources and build environmentally and economically sustainable communities. The program tracks political, economic, and social forces shaping environmental issues and builds on existing legal and regulatory frameworks to design and implement innovative policy solutions in the areas of water resources, energy, environmental equity, and climate change adaptation.

The State Policy Program has undertaken research on strategies to reduce and manage nutrient pollution, to regulate unconventional oil and gas development, and to protect and restore watersheds that supply drinking water.

Current lines of research and engagement are building on those efforts to address water law governance challenges in the Southeast, to help governments analyze policy mechanisms to address environmental equity, to develop innovative solutions to deal with climate-related risk, and to develop state-level frameworks to ensure reliable, cost-effective, and environmentally sustainable power supply.



Environmental Inequality

There is a great need to consider the effects of environmental inequality—not everyone is equally protected from health and environmental hazards regardless of race, gender, income, or national origin.

Environmental Markets

Environmental markets are focused on a broad range of challenges—from reducing greenhouse gas emissions to providing incentives for the restoration and protection of forests to improving water quality.


Oil and Gas

Encroachment of oil and gas development into human and ecological habitats requires community engagement and meaningful discussions about the protection of important natural and cultural resources.