Bog Turtles and Pipelines, Indiana Bats and Power Plants

By January 15, 2009Energy, Regulations

A coincidence, picking up yesterday’s Baltimore Sun and spotting the story about an LNG facility at Sparrows Point in Maryland, and then reading Hugh Hewitt’s online column from yesterday, where he argues:

If President Obama oversees the payout of more than a trillion bucks and cannot point to anything but statistics to show for it in two years, he’ll have a political nightmare on his hands, and he’ll deserve it.  The enormous size of the stimulus is a never-before-seen-in-American-history splurge, and the Democrats thus far show no sign of treating it as other than a vast payout to their friends.

If President Obama was to demand the funding for and enabling legislation to kick start the construction of the dozens of new nuclear power plants this country needs, as well as the wind turbines envisioned by T. Boone Pickens and the grid expansion everyone knows is necessary, not only would he be creating thousands and thousands of great jobs, he’d be powering the U.S. up for a second American century.  The appropriation is only the first step.  He’d need not a car czar, but a power czar, tasked with delivering the plants on a schedule and authorized to blow through logjams.  To get such a massive and necessary expansion of our power supply underway, he’d also have to have “notwithstanding any other law” language in the appropriations bill, or every one of the new plants would be quickly swamped in the sorts of environmental challenges that bedevil every major infrastructure project in the county.  (Here’s just one example —a proposed 88 mile natural gas pipeline from Baltimore to PA, threatened by the Indiana bat and the bog turtle. Those of us who practice law in the world of endangered species and wetlands know this is the rule for big projects, not the exception.)

Big Projects + Big regulations + Big Lawsuits by Big-Money Environmentalists = 0

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