Not Mission: Impossible
Miles Keogh is the Executive Director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA) but writes in his capacity as a private citizen and unrepentant kilowatt geek.
I don't know if you've been reading the papers lately, but every bill seems tough to move on the Hill these days. Passage of anything consequential seems to require bipartisanship, which is in short supply on almost any issue.
One possible exception? Infrastructure. Both parties recognize the need. Year after year, the American Society of Civil Engineers gives America's infrastructure appalling grades (a D+ in its 2017 report).
Americans favor better transit, safer roads, stronger bridges, and more reliable power - but they also support environmental safeguards. Ninety-four percent of Americans (including ninety-two percent of Republicans) say infrastructure shouldn't come at the expense of environmental protections, according to a poll conducted by Hart Research Associates last year. If they want to give the voters what they want, when considering any infrastructure bill, lawmakers should first ask: "Will this harm clean air and public health, or not?"
We can have the best of both. Last December, NACAA created a set of recommendations for how to streamline permitting in ways that don't degrade the hard-won clean air gains of recent decades. (You can find them on our website at www.4cleanair.org.)