The fuel for economic growth: What’s doing in energy?

Our Top Five Stalled Energy Projects by Nash Keune provides a good rundown on one aspect of the poor economic growth and recovery.

In 2010, as a direct result of environmental concerns, NIMBY activism, and a sluggish permit-granting process, there were 351 energy projects that were being delayed, postponed, or outright terminated. This is according to a study published by the Chamber of Commerce entitled Project No Project. Together, these projects were estimated to be worth $1.1 trillion and expected to create 1.9 million jobs. The overriding lesson from the report was that, given America’s byzantine permit system, opponents of any project can find a violation somewhere within the mountains of paperwork a firm is required to submit

The top five selected include a coal plant in White Plain, Nevada featuring objections by the Sierra Club and Senator Reid; a wind farm near Nasselle, Washington featuring objections by the Audubon Society; the Mountain States Transmission Intertie Line opposed by local residents and others; an LNG terminal off Oxnard, California opposed by the Santa Barbara Channelkeeper citing terror attack risk; and many nuclear plants opposed by environmental groups.

This activity is one of self immolation. A ready and plentiful supply of energy for everything from household to industrial use is a requirement for health and comfort. It is also a requirement for the research and development that will (and has) achieved many of the goals of those opposing energy projects such as environmental protection and reduction of pollutants.

The Japanese earthquake and Tsunami provides an example of the irrational mindset on this. There are a few stories about the debris from the Tsunami reaching U.S. shores but very many more about the nuclear power plant recovery that focus on every danger and every risk and every potential outcome all the while ignoring the true tragedy where that tsunami devastated Japan and caused real and actual damage and loss of life.

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