Why are environmental activists trying to stop green energy?

One of the conditions Joe Mansion attached to greater support Investing in climate change In the history of the United States it was a separate vote for a reform age permitting. (What allows reform? It means speeding up the regulatory process that builders must navigate to approve new projects.)

Opposition to allowing reform has become a rallying cry for many environmental activists. Progressives push for a Democratic National Committee resolution to oppose allowing reform and hold a rally in Washington, DC

“The environmental justice community is very concerned that these permit rules will make it a lot easier to sustain the fossil fuel projects that pollute their communities. So they are very tough,” said one Democratic senator. hill.

The Environmental Justice Committee has lost its mind. Without reform allowed, there would be no chance of the transition to green energy taking place.

Compared to peer countries, the US pays more to build almost any type of infrastructure – roads, buildings, trains, whatever. The 1970 National Environmental Policy Act is a major reason for this. The law requires environmental impact data before new projects are approved. Over the years, requirements have become more detailed and courts have ruled that individuals have the right to sue to block any new project on grounds of environmental impact.

Brink Lindsay and Samuel Hammond Explain how these requirements have become more challenging over time:

In the early days, NEPA’s procedural requirements were modest: an EIS could be as short as 10 pages, and the legislation did not provide for a special right to action. Courts soon declared a special right to sue, and under the pressure of litigation, the demands of the law are more onerous than ever: today an average EIS is more than 600 pages, plus appendices typically exceed 1,000 pages. The average EIS now takes 4.5 years to complete; Between 2010 and 2017, four such statements were completed after a delay of 17 years or more. And remember, no foundation can be broken on any project until the EIS can get past it through a legal challenge – this includes both federal projects and private projects that require federal clearance. Meanwhile, the more numerous environmental assessments (the federal government performs more than 12,000 of them annually, compared to the 20-something environmental impact data) are also becoming much longer and taking longer to complete.

NEPA still orders the support For a large number of environmental groups, the “environmental audit” sounds Like the kind of process that ecologists have to support. But keep in mind that the law was written before combating climate change became a major environmental priority. It reflects an old idea of ​​a small-c Environmental Conservation is designed to keep the built environment intact making a rapid transition to green energy impossible.

NEPA proponents like to focus on the fact that allowing reform will enable fossil fuel infrastructure as well as green energy projects, and rightly so. But green energy is growing much cheaper than fossil fuels – a process accelerated by subsidies in the Inflation Reduction Act. New energy infrastructure will be disproportionately green. as such Ramez yes He points out that the main obstacle to the transition to clean energy is not the cost of those technologies but the regulatory barriers to building infrastructure.

As now, according to Alan Cole, the United States has 42 megawatts of offshore wind capacity in operation, 932 megawatts under construction, and 18,581 megawatts awaiting approval. Permission is the force that makes even the most economical green energy projects vulnerable to delays.

The permitting process can have an environmental gloss. But a wind farm off Martha’s Vineyard has faced years of delays from homeowners who don’t want to have to look at wind turbines from afar. They are suing to block the project, claiming it would disrupt ocean wildlife. Donald Trump, of course, likes to attack wind turbines on the grounds that they kill birds, which he does but in small numbers. The legal framework prioritizes even the most ambiguous and minimal impacts on animal life over human needs – including the need to reduce carbon emissions.

A 102-mile transmission line from Iowa to Wisconsin has been suspended since 2011 due to environmental licenses and lawsuits. “Environmental groups say the line will damage sensitive floodplain habitat in the upper Mississippi River,” Reports Wall Street magazine. On the other hand, building new solar and wind farms will require a massive increase in transmission lines to get this energy to where people live. Ecologists can prioritize this, or they can prioritize protecting sensitive floodplain habitat from even minor disturbances.

Justin Guay, director of global climate strategy at the Sunrise Project rolling rock That the grace deal is “a side deal with a coal baron that the climate movement neither recognizes nor honors.” That these activists still describe Manchin as a coal baron even after he voted for the largest support for green energy in US history is an indication of their mentality.

rolling rock He argues that the Allow Reform dumping campaign “will force moderate Democrats to acknowledge the many frontline activists who are outraged and betrayed by the side bargain.” What are they angry at other than the Coal Baron?

said Jimmy Hen, Director of Fossil Free Media rolling rock“Look, I want to get carbon out of the atmosphere, but this is an opportunity to reshape our society. But if we sustain the same damage in a clean energy economy, and it’s just a scientist from the Exxons and Elon Musks — oh, man, what a nightmare.”

The “nightmare” is that we are transitioning to a clean energy economy but continue to make companies make money from it. If you can’t understand how this mindset makes sense, some left-wing activists have decided that the only way to truly solve the climate crisis is to end capitalism. The connection between these two goals became specific in their minds. (This was included in some versions of the Green New Deal, which swept huge non-climate social spending programs based on the theory that socialism was the only answer.) Thus, a plan to accelerate the transition of green energy without overturning capitalism is a terrifying prospect for them.

The good news is that most climate hawks in the Senate Democratic caucus are ignoring these environmental activists. Brian Schatz, Martin Heinrich and Ron Wyden all together the support Allow reform as a necessary measure to enable the green energy projects they have already funded to build. But Bernie Sanders He opposes it, and the progressives in the House of Representatives are doing it angry voices.

It may seem surprising, for now, that the greatest enemy of the green energy revolution is climate change activists and their progressive allies.

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