America Can’t Build New Bridges Because of the Environment

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


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File this under “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

Every other month, Obama pivots to America’s collapsing infrastructure and all the bridges that are about to fall down because Republicans won’t raise taxes and four trillion just isn’t enough to pay to fix bridges.

The real reason we can’t fix or build things is because of a liberal bureaucracy and its corrupt rent-seeking parasites feeding off their environmental scams.

“Raising the roadway of the Bayonne Bridge at the mouth of the Port of Newark, for example, requires no new foundations or right of way, and would not require approvals at all except that it spans navigable water. Raising the roadway would allow a new generation of efficient large ships into the port. But the project is now approaching its fifth year of legal process, bogged down in environmental litigation.

“An alteration project like the Bayonne Bridge should probably have an environmental review of a few dozen pages and not, as in that case, more than 5,000 pages.

“It is also important to change the Balkanized approvals process for other regulations and licenses. These approvals are now spread among federal, state and local agencies like a parody of bureaucracy, with little coordination and frequent duplication of environmental and other requirements.

“The Cape Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts, now in its 12th year of scrutiny, required review by 17 different agencies. The Gateway West power line, to carry electricity from Wyoming wind farms to the Pacific Northwest, requires the approval of each county in Idaho that the line will traverse. The approval process, begun in 2007, is expected to be complete by 2015. This is paralysis by federalism.”

Liberals keep lusting after China’s infrastructure, but the PRC doesn’t have 5,000 page environmental reviews. No one does.

This isn’t just Federal, it’s also out-of-control bureaucracy and it’s profiteering environmental bureaucracy that paralyzes even environmental projects.

The Cape Wind Project is a wind farm and it’s being opposed by environmental groups… because the only thing environmentalists really want is nothing.

They’re nihilists. And they have become modern Luddites unwilling to build anything unless it profits them personally.

  • DogmaelJones1

    Fundamentally, the environmentalists wish man to simply disappear — except for themselves, they’d hang around to make sure man doesn’t rise again from the primeval ooze and begin altering the “environment” to ensure his survival. That’s it in a nutshell.

    • A Z

      Such nihilistic people should lead by example if they think mankind should disappear.

      Environmentalists do not like nuclear, hydroelectric, or carbon based energy source. You would think that leaves you with solar and and wind.

      But as been pointed out in FPM and elsewhere, they are suing windfarms.

      That leaves solar, but do dare think of setting up solar farms in the desert. You might hurt a tortoise or something.

      Environmentalist are made up of histrionic activists, rent seeking lawyers and scientists and unscrupulous politicians.

      If you really care about the environment you are a conservationist not an environmentalist.

      • DogmaelJones1

        They’d object solar arrays being set up in the desert because those things take up space and would deny sagebrush and other desert plants sunlight, and also they’d interfere with prairie dog nests and the habitats of other desert fauna. Their premise is death, not life.

  • ebonystone

    The “environmentalists,” encouraged by the regulatory laws, killed the American nuclear power industry — once the world’s leader — by endless lawsuits. And they’re trying to do the same thing to other industries.

    • The March Hare

      The environmentalists aren’t “encouraged” by the regulatory laws, they promoted and helped establish most of them in order to kill the nuclear power industry and the other industries are part and parcel of the same anti-capitalist project.