From The Atlantic:

Conversations of Note

Of course, appropriating money is one thing, and spending it efficiently and effectively is another. At RealClearEnergy, Christopher Barnard argues that antiquated environmental laws are perversely among the most significant obstacles to building new clean-energy infrastructure:

While environmentalists clamor for trillions of dollars in public investment in clean energy infrastructure … we’ve made it nearly impossible to build in America. Strict regulation sounds like a good thing for the environment … Unfortunately, however, our regulatory framework goes far beyond basic protection of the environment. Take, for example, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which is the environmental review process for major infrastructure projects. Introduced over half a century ago in 1970, its goal is to ensure that these kinds of projects cause minimal environmental harm.

In reality, NEPA is a labyrinthine process that severely hamstrings important infrastructure projects. On average, it takes 4.5 years and $4.2 million to complete the review process … This is a huge deterrence to potential projects that could modernize our country’s infrastructure and reduce emissions. It’s not a coincidence that NEPA is the most litigated environmental statute in the United States. Consider that 42% of all energy projects currently backlogged under NEPA are clean energy projects. Only 15% are fossil fuel projects. Yet several months ago, President Biden rolled back Trump-era reforms to NEPA that would’ve expedited the review process. Manchin recently sided with Senate Republicans to nullify the move, though it is unlikely to pass the House. We’re arbitrarily holding back clean energy projects that could reduce emissions.

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