April 20, 2022

Biden’s Red Tape and ‘Green’ Agenda

His order to reinstitute longer environmental reviews will delay infrastructure projects and make them more expensive.

American infrastructure needs fixing. On that much, politicians of both parties generally agree. The devil is always in the details, however, and Joe Biden just announced that he’s going to bedevil those details with a lot more red tape.

The Wall Street Journal aptly sums it up:

The Biden administration is restoring stricter environmental standards for approving new pipelines, highways, power plants and other construction projects, including requiring consideration of how such projects might affect climate change.

The changes announced Tuesday reinstate National Environmental Policy Act measures that had been removed by former President Donald Trump, who said that federal regulations were needlessly hindering much-needed infrastructure projects.

“We want to build new roads, bridges, tunnels, highways bigger, better, faster,” Trump said when he announced his changes in early 2020. “These endless delays waste money, keep projects from breaking ground, and deny jobs to our nation’s incredible workers.”

Trump was right. So-called environmental reviews bog down infrastructure projects in years of bureaucratic red tape, both slowing down improvements and making them vastly more expensive. As we noted two years ago, these reviews average between five and seven years, but they can take more than 10 years in some cases and are to blame for needlessly delaying an estimated $1 trillion in transportation infrastructure alone. Trump’s move went a long way toward fixing that, but alas, he’s no longer in office.

“Our infrastructure is ranked 13th in the world,” Biden complained in his State of the Union. “We won’t be able to compete for the jobs of the 21st century if we don’t fix it.” Of course, that was a pitch for his big-spending agenda, but what he did Tuesday is ensure that fixing dilapidated infrastructure will take longer and be much more expensive.

Speaking of needed infrastructure, the only reason Biden was able to cancel the Keystone pipeline on his first day in office is that the project wasn’t completed already after having been tied up for years in environmental reviews and lawsuits.

Another similar example: Enbridge Inc., which the Journal describes as “one of the largest natural-gas pipeline operators in the U.S. with more than 14,500 miles of transmission pipelines,” faced years of delays just to replace deteriorating pipelines in Minnesota because of legal challenges from groups that ostensibly care about the environment.

And then Democrats have the nerve to tell us that such pipelines won’t reduce gas prices today because it’ll take so long to get the product to market. Again, it’s like the old joke about chutzpah — a man kills his parents and then asks for mercy because he’s an orphan.

Just wait until Biden’s more onerous reviews delay the next wind-turbine farm.

Team Biden claims that everything is about “saving the planet” from human-caused climate change (well, when it’s not about racism or equity, anyway). The truth is that Biden’s regulatory binge is all about power — power for every politician, staffer, bureaucrat, committee member, and lobbying group who controls or influences every dollar spent on infrastructure. Just remember who to thank the next time you drive down a pot-hole-ridden road or cross an old crumbling bridge, or the next time you fill up your gas tank. Don’t thank Vladimir Putin; thank Joe Biden.

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