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Climate

Environmentalists Are Why We Can’t Build Anything Anymore

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When New York City first built its subway system, it took them less than five years to build 28 stations.

Fast forward to today, and it took 17 years for New York City to add just three stations to the Second Avenue Subway line.

Across the country, the Golden Gate Bridge was also completed in less than five years. [emphasis, links added]

Meanwhile, California’s high-speed rail project has been under construction for almost 15 years now and not a single station has been opened.

Put simply, our nation used to be able to build things, and now we can’t anymore.

Normally, not building things is the environmental movement’s preferred outcome.

But now that climate activists want to transform our electrical grid from fossil fuels to “clean” energy, they are beginning to notice that not being able to build things is kind of a big problem.

In order to meet climate activist goals of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, Jason Grumet of the American Clean Power Association estimates that the United States will need to build the clean-energy equivalent of 3,000 power plants.

“There is an imagination that somehow clean technology just flows into society in this kind of gentle, small-is-beautiful, solar-panels-on-dairy-farms-in-Vermont kind of way,” Grumet told Bloomberg. “You’re not going to do that at speed and scale through community-based decision-making.

The big barrier to building things quickly in America today is the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which empowers anyone to delay any infrastructure project that requires government action in federal court.

Reforming NEPA to limit the amount of time activists can delay projects would help speed the construction of “clean” energy projects and the transmission lines needed to deliver that energy to consumers.

But it would also make it easier to build fossil fuel infrastructure as well. And Democrats just can’t stomach that.

“We didn’t do permitting reform,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) told Bloomberg. “I think there is a deal space. But we’re not going to do the American Petroleum Institute wish list and call it permitting reform.”

What Democrats like Schatz don’t realize is that NEPA reform won’t just make it easier to build energy projects, both “clean” and fossil fuel-based, but it will also make it easier to build everything.

Bridges, roads, rail, houses, apartment buildings — everything.

If the Left wants a world where there is more mass transportation, more “clean” energy, and more affordable housing, the best thing they could do is work with Republicans on real reforms to NEPA.

Top photo by Tae Fuller

Read more at Examiner

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