The Environmental Injustice of Declining Budgets for Water Infrastructure

by Evan Isaacson | February 15, 2018

This year more than most, it bears repeating that a budget is a moral document, or at least that it has moral implications. It's particularly important to remember not just because President Trump's budget is so appallingly skewed in favor of military spending – this looks to be one pricey parade – but also because of the administration's puzzling infrastructure proposal. 

It is no surprise that the Trump administration would craft an infrastructure plan heavily tilted toward the shiny objects of the infrastructure world – roads and bridges – even though a boost in drinking and wastewater projects could help deliver that "beautiful, clean water" that candidate Trump declared was very important to him, and which many of his supporters so desperately need. It is similarly unsurprising that Trump would take this opportunity to attack bedrock environmental laws like the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Clean Water Act's provision under which states require that applicants for licenses and permits observe clean water requirements (section 401) under the guise of knocking down "regulatory barriers" and "streamlining permitting." (The attack on section 401 is rich irony considering how important "states' rights" and "cooperative federalism" are supposed to be to this administration). 

But perhaps the biggest surprise about the new infrastructure plan was how significantly the Trump administration has proposed to shift the cost of infrastructure financing from the federal government to state and local governments. Even ...

The Message Congress Needs to Hear As It Debates Our Water Infrastructure Needs

by Evan Isaacson | June 22, 2017
Last fall, the Senate directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to contract with the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) to conduct an independent study on affordability of municipal investments in water infrastructure. As someone who spent several years within the halls of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, I was honored to contribute to NAPA's research efforts by responding to a survey with suggestions for public administrators and communities struggling to meet the challenges ...

Tax Credits and Public Spending on Infrastructure

by David Driesen | January 30, 2017
Donald Trump based his candidacy on the claim that he would serve working-class people who established politicians have neglected. He promised $1 trillion of infrastructure investment over 10 years, which could generate a lot of blue-collar employment while potentially repairing crumbling bridges and roads, replacing antiquated wastewater treatment systems (in Flint and elsewhere), and creating a mass transit system that could move us into the 21st century in that realm. A sound infrastructure program, unlike anything else that Trump has ...

Trading Away the Benefits of Green Infrastructure

by Evan Isaacson | May 10, 2016
In the world of watershed restoration, there are multiple tools and tactics that government agencies, private landowners, and industry can use to reduce pollution and clean up our waterways. In Maryland, two of those approaches seem destined to collide. On the first track is nutrient trading, a least-cost pollution control concept predicated on the idea that if some distant entity can reduce the same amount of pollution at a lower cost than a facility with a water pollution control permit, ...

Two Years and Counting: Looking Forward

Farber | Dec 10, 2018 | Environmental Policy

Two Years and Counting: A Historical Perspective

Farber | Dec 06, 2018 | Environmental Policy

Two Years and Counting: Trump at Mid-Term

Farber | Dec 03, 2018 | Environmental Policy

Opinion Analysis: Frogs and Humans Live to Fight Another Day

Heinzerling | Nov 30, 2018 | Environmental Policy

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