Common Good Responds to Critique of “Two Years, Not Ten Years”


This weekend, Washington Post Columnist George Will weighed in on CAP’s critique of Common Good’s “Two Years, Not Ten Years” report:

Twenty months after Howard published his article, the response by the Center for American Progress (CAP) shows how far we have defined efficiency down: It celebrates the fact that federal environmental statements average only 4.6 years. That would be bad enough if such reviews were all or even most of the problem. Actually, there are other kinds of reviews and other layers of government involved, as with the Bayonne Bridge — 47 permits from 19 federal, state and local agencies.

CAP says that “the principal restraint facing state and local governments contemplating megaprojects is money, not environmental review.” But, again, this ignores myriad other time-consuming reviews and the costs, in both construction and social inefficiencies, driven by lost time.

Will concludes by commenting on the absurdity of including Howard among “hardcore opponents of environmental review.” Click here to read the full op-ed (“How We Waste a Massive Amount of Infrastructure Money — Before Building Even Starts”).


In September 2015, Common Good issued a white paper – “Two Years, Not Ten Years: Redesigning Infrastructure Approvals” – which called for streamlining review and approvals to two years. The paper has been embraced by political leaders from all sides, including the Obama and Trump administrations, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and leaders of Congress, by experts in infrastructure, and by policy leaders from all sides, including the Progressive Policy Institute and the Bipartisan Policy Center.

In May 2017, the Center for American Progress released a report defending the current lengthy process and slurring Common Good and other reformers as “environmental review opponents.” Ironically, as we found in “Two Years, Not Ten Years,” spending years on environmental review is generally harmful to the environment, by prolonging bottlenecks that cause pollution. Other greener countries such as Germany and Canada complete environmental review and permitting for large projects in less than two years. Just last year CAP itself called for “expedited environmental review and permitting for infrastructure projects of regional or national significance.”

Click here to read Common Good’s full response: “Red Tape, Not Progress: The Center for American Progress Defends Bureaucratic Paralysis.”

June 2017

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