Ecosystem Services in the Southern Appalachian Mountains

In 1990, the Acid Rain Program introduced market-based environmental policy on the largest scale ever attempted. The program capped the total level of acid rain–causing sulfur dioxide emissions from the US electricity sector and allowed utilities to trade under that fixed cap—a so-called cap-and-trade system. Ironically, though much of the original motivation for that program […]

The Federal Multiagency Collaboration on Unconventional Oil and Gas Research Strategy: What Have We Learned?

The Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency recently released the long-awaited research strategy on unconventional oil and gas research. Its mandate was to produce timely, policy-relevant research questions that support sound policy decisions and prudent oil and gas development. It also was to “analyze and synthesize the state of […]

Getting Past the “Yuck” Factor: Challenges for Public Acceptance of Recycled Water

A recent article in Slate ran with the attention-grabbing title “Thirsty West: Why Californians Will Soon be Drinking their Own Pee.”  The article was motivated by the planned $142 million expansion of a water reuse facility in Orange County, which will increase the local district’s capacity to take wastewater and convert it into sterile, drinking-quality […]

Identifying “Known Unknowns” in the Natural Gas Revolution

Last week, my colleagues and I released a new RFF report, The Natural Gas Revolution: Critical Questions for a Sustainable Energy Future. At one point, I began referring to this document as the “Known Unknowns” report, in reference to a widely quoted Donald Rumsfeld speech. As the former secretary of defense noted, there are certain […]

Unconventional Fuel Production and Water Resources

Crude oil and natural gas production from unconventional reservoirs is experiencing accelerated growth in North America, much of which is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. This shift in the energy industry has been accompanied by rising concerns over its potential impact on water resources. Developing these fuels is thought to require more water […]

Polar Interpretations of a Study of Shale Gas Development and Surface Water

On Monday, my colleagues, Sheila Olmstead, Jhih-Shyang Shih, Ziyan Chu, Alan Krupnick and I published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences testing for evidence of impacts to surface water quality from shale gas development across four different pathways.  We used more than a decade of data from over 20,000 surface […]

RFF Feature: Tax Incentives for Developing Sewage Treatment Capacity in China

RFF’s Anthony Liu and coauthor Junjie Zhang examine the uneven development of sewage treatment plants throughout China and explore the relationship between tax incentives and investments in such infrastructure. To read the piece in its entirety, click here.