Guidance from the federal government on environmental mitigation recommends the use of large-scale planning, preferably carried out in advance of impacts, to steer both mitigation and development. The idea is that such planning can improve site selection for proposed projects and increase the return on investment for mitigation while helping to provide greater predictability for project proponents, increase the efficiencies of project review, reduce permitting times, and support better environmental results. A new Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions working paper explores progress in integrating large-scale, spatially explicit planning into environmental markets and programs in the United States.
While retaining a half-time appointment as the Nicholas Institute's Environmental Economics Program director, Brian Murray will serve for a second year as interim director of the Duke University Energy Initiative, which is continuing to make advances in Duke's energy education, research, and engagement. "I can't say enough about the commitment of our staff and our faculty and student advisory councils," said Murray. "Together, we're accomplishing a steady stream of successes, from the first-ever Energy Week at Duke to the Energy Research Seed Fund program that has generated nearly three times the value of funds that we've invested in interdisciplinary research teams." 
North Carolina's ocean and coastal areas and their resources shape a unique and important segment of the state's economy. From seafood and commercial fishing opportunities, to access to global markets through shipping and transport, to tourism and recreation, thousands of jobs and billions in revenue for the state depend on the ocean and coast. A new working paper provides a first assessment of existing information to measure the size and extent of North Carolina's ocean economy and proposes next steps to transition to a blue economy.
Power to the People: Tackling Energy Inequality through Clean Energy Solutions
March 5, Durham, North Carolina
Assessing the Long-Term Impacts of International Aid for Forests
March 10, Durham, North Carolina

Incorporating Ecosystem Services into NEPA
March 28, Durham, North Carolina 
Navigating the American Carbon World
April 19-21, San Francisco, California 
Spill Risk of Hydraulically Fractured Wells

An analysis led by the Nicholas Institute and published in Environmental Science & Technology concludes that state-level data on spills associated with unconventional oil and gas development could help stakeholders target efforts for identifying and preventing spills if the data were made more uniform and accessible.  The study finds 6,648 spills of hydrocarbons, chemical-laden water, hydraulic fracturing fluids, and other substances at 31,481 hydraulically fractured wells.  "The presence of a spill does not mean an adverse impact; many spills were small or contained," said the Nicholas Institute's Lauren Patterson, the study's lead author. "The data on containment and potential impacts varied between states and over time, making it difficult to do more than report on the number of spills."  Explore the  data visualization tool .
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