Missed Opportunity on Infrastructure
Arlington, VA | February 12, 2018
The Nature Conservancy released the following statement from Co-Chief External Affairs Officer Lynn Scarlett regarding the Trump Administration’s infrastructure proposal, which was released today:
“A renewed focus on improving America’s infrastructure holds so much promise, but, looking at the Trump Administration’s infrastructure proposal leaves us mostly pondering what could have been. Much could have been done to include nature-based solutions as a cost-effective way to help protect communities, address stormwater needs in cities, and more. And, the proposal could have recognized the rising impacts of natural disasters and how we need to take these climate-amplified impacts into consideration when investing in our nation’s infrastructure. The proposal also misses opportunities to lessen the impact of construction projects on the nation’s lands and waters, while still maintaining or even improving the speed and cost-efficiency of projects.
“Unfortunately, the proposal mostly misses those opportunities. Instead, at its best, the proposal includes some items to expand investment in infrastructure while improving efficiency of reviews, but without providing the capacity to ensure their effective implementation. Other proposals seem likely to undercut informed decisions, public input and balanced outcomes.
“We remain hopeful, though. We’ll continue to work with lawmakers at all levels of government to advance the use of natural infrastructure, such as reefs, dunes, floodplains and wetlands. These solutions can provide some of the same benefits of traditional infrastructure, often at a lower cost and with additional benefits. For example, nature can help keep communities safer from storms and floods, clean our drinking water, manage stormwater, and more—all while also providing wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation opportunities.
“Now is the time to tap the full potential of nature to meet our nation’s needs. Last year was the costliest year ever for natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires, and we need the most efficient and effective tools possible to protect our communities from future disasters and their impacts.
“As with any infrastructure development, we should also be mindful of environmental impacts. Through years of work, we’ve shown that it is possible to both speed project delivery and minimize the effects on lands and waters we all rely upon. We look forward to expanding that win-win approach more broadly through upcoming policy opportunities on infrastructure.”
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.