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  • Obama Administration Planning for More Green Tape

    In a plan that was intended to be quick and temporary, Congress passed a $787 billion stimulus plan, which included large sums of money to fund infrastructure projects. Never mind the fact that the stimulus bill was a bad idea, the amount of environmental regulatory tape standing in the way will prevent it from ever getting off the ground. Normally it takes a federal construction project an average of 4.4 years to complete a National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) review. Throw in the Clean Water Act’s section 404 requirements (where relevant), and before a single shovel can hit the earth it takes 5.6 years for the average federal project to jump through all the normal environmental hoops. It could get worse in the very near future. E&E (password protected) reports:

    “The Obama administration may soon issue an executive order adding climate change to the list of factors federal agencies must take into account when evaluating projects and policies.

    Environmentalists have pushed for the expansion of the 40-year-old National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which currently requires agencies to consider environmental factors such as land use, biodiversity and air quality.”

    What haven’t environmentalists pushed for the expansion of? The only answer that comes to mind is economic growth. Senior Energy Analyst at The Heritage Foundation Ben Lieberman writes, “The environmental movement itself is, by design, anti-growth. After all, these are the individuals and organizations that regularly fight to stop new factories, power plants, and construction projects. For them, environmental concerns, real or exaggerated, almost always trump economic ones, and it is rare for them to be lacking an excuse to oppose a project.”

    David Bookbinder, chief climate counsel at the Sierra Club, supports the idea, saying:

    “People will think longer and harder and smarter about what they build when they understand that the environment around them is changing.”

    It will be longer and harder but it certainly won’t be smarter. It will simply be more expensive and guarantee that the billions in infrastructure spending in this stimulus bill will not be spent till years after the economy has already recovered. The money that will be spent in the near-term won’t be spent efficiently; it will be spent overcoming unnecessary regulatory hurdles that prevent actual economic activity. In a letter sent to Nancy Sutley, head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Senators James M. Inhofe (R-OK.) and John Barrasso (R-WY) capture the running theme of the environmental movement: “Requiring analysis of climate change impacts during the NEPA process . . . will slow our economic recovery while providing no meaningful environmental benefits.”

    Environmental impacts should, without a doubt, be a concern for any new construction project, but the concerns should be about real environmental impacts – not how much big the carbon footprint of the project will be. This has all the making of becoming comically arbitrary but it won’t be comical to those paying for it.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Obama Administration Planning for More Green Tape

    1. Brad, Chicago, IL says:

      The idea of funding infrastructure projects to promote economic growth was not a bad idea, in and of itself. The lie or naive ignorance (whichever was the case) that all that money would create jobs right away is the problem with the stimulus bill. Apparently, someone now wants people to wait longer. I'm sick of the idea that anyone who isn't afraid the earth is about to die should be labeled a villain. A just cause does not make one a just judge, but too often absolves one of scrutiny. It's a case of the best defense being a good offense; as long as they can constantly throw accusations and force the opposition to defend themselves, there won't be any return fire. The health of the planet 50 years from now doesn't mean much to someone who is out of work and just trying to provide food for their children.

    2. Pingback: Streetsblog Capitol Hill » Environmental Reviews: Helpful (and Hurtful) to Many Ideologies

    3. Spiritof76 says:

      Please outlaw Sierra Club and their allies as a national security threat. They are responsible for the enactment of the DDT ban in the 1970s and that action has cost over 50 million lives, mostly those of children in Africa. The UN thanfully reversed that course recently (in 2007)so that malaria can not continue to kill kids in Africa. Now, the same Sierra Club is engaged in killing the US economy and impoverishing the American people. Until that happens, there will be more articles in the Heritage about what we should be doing while the country is going down the tubes for our children and grand-children. Time to act is now, if we want to save America.

    4. Pingback: Streetsblog San Francisco » Environmental Reviews: Helpful (and Hurtful) to Many Ideologies

    5. Pingback: Streetsblog Los Angeles » Environmental Reviews: Helpful (and Hurtful) to Many Ideologies

    6. TonyfromOz Coomera Q says:

      This is another of those things that those environmentalists calling for renewable power plants to replace those 'evil' coal fired power plants fail to take into account.

      The average time span for construction of these renewable plants, (and the same for any power plant of any variety) is in the vicinity of 8 to 10 years, and that's if all the balls fall into place in as short a time as possible.

      In the meantime, those coal fired plants will still need to be kept humming along.

      Therein lies the dilemma for those green followers who propose these renewable plants.

      The fact that these types of renewable plant cannot replace those coal fired plants for the amount of power they can deliver at a constant 24 hour rate means a further problem arises.

      If and when those renewable plants do come on line, and people find that they cannot deliver, then the coal fired plants so desperately required are ten years older, or ten years behind any possible replacement.

      Scylla and Charybdis.

    7. Stas Peterson says:

      It is delicious Irony that the Dear Clueless Leader will be unable to use the Stimulus recovery act to help himself, or the other avowed Marxists of his political persuasion. And to think it was due to actions of his own hand!

      The rank and file of the American Democratic Party still believe in America. But the elitist coup by the outright revolutionary, 1960s era, anti-Vietnam Marxists, who have seized its operating controls, and nominating processes, do not. They seek to destroy Democracy and replace it with their '…isms ' whatever that incoherent crew believes them to be.

      It is deliciously delightful, to see the 'monkey wrenches' they thrown into the works, serve to tie them by a thousand silken threads of Environmental Impact Statements, of their own careful manufactured creation, as well.

      The Stimulus bill is unable to actually help Recovery from the Great Recession. For which he and his ghastly crew of incompetent 'monkey wrenchers', continue to suffer politically. Hopefully right out of office; and control of that formerly great political Party, of which I was once a proud member.

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