It’s that time of year when many of us embark on the American tradition of piling the family into the car with an assortment of snacks and suitcases. For some families the destination is the cool mountains, for others a sunny beach. But far too often we quickly find ourselves parked on the highway wondering why our roads seem more like parking lots.
That frustration increases when state or local governments try to eliminate bottlenecks and expand popular routes—only to be blocked by the traffic-jam of federal government permitting. Most people understand that funding is hard to come by, but most people don’t realize that the Clean Water Act (CWA) can cause permitting delays and even block projects. While the law was intended to protect our critical water resources, years of lawsuits and bureaucratic overreach have twisted the law into a giant federal STOP sign.
We have been working to fix this. Manufacturers’ ability to compete and grow depends on a superior infrastructure system that is second-to-none. When building an infrastructure project, time is the most valuable commodity, so streamlining CWA permitting is a top priority.
Manufacturers asked the courts to throw out federal overreach under the CWA. They agreed. We called on the president to restore the law and protect our waters. He agreed. We asked the Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency to provide clarity. And they got to work.
Now the Corps of Engineers is taking an important step towards the clarity we have been asking for with a new order that empowers states to play a stronger role in permitting projects. This is a big win for commonsense and a big win infrastructure. In a simple 3-page memo, the Corps provides long-awaited clarity. It empowers the people of every state to take the lead.
For too long, our nation has relied on the infrastructure we inherited from previous generations. But targeted, substantial investments in modernizing our nation’s infrastructure will create jobs, boost economic growth, save lives and help secure America’s mantle of economic leadership in the world. Manufacturers are excited about this important step in the right direction and a chance to hit the open road again.
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