Linking Economic Opportunity to Environmental Protection

By Marianne Horinko

Excerpt from article published in the Environmental Law Institute’s Jan/Feb 2017 Issue of The Forum

The 2016 election invites us to reimagine the role environmental protection plays in creating jobs, streamlining bureaucracy, improving public health and quality of life, and most of all, focusing on results. The obvious place to begin is our infrastructure deficit.

President elect Trump has promised to work with Congress in cutting foreign spending to redirect budget toward rebuilding our crumbling ports, highways, bridges, and water systems. The federal government has already begun to create innovative public-private partnerships, or P3s, in which creative financing is employed to leverage scarce federal funds with private-sector groups who seek to share the costs and benefits of these projects. These shifts show a broader objective of improving efficiencies within the current system.

I believe focusing on efficiency will be a hallmark strategy for the incoming administration. For example, the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, a new federal credit assistance program, would allow limited federal dollars to be leveraged significantly relative to the amounts appropriated by Congress.

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