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Sen. Dan Sullivan’s op-ed highlights many of the Democrats’ anti-democratic tactics. Sen. Sullivan’s op-ed frequently highlights how environmental activists use weaponized government to kill infrastructure and energy projects. For instance, environmental activists used anti-democratic tactics, noting that the “Pentagon was built in 16 months. The 1,500-mile Alaska-Canadian Highway, which passes through some of the world’s most rugged terrain, took about eight months. Today, infrastructure projects across America often require several years simply to get through the federal government’s pre-build permitting process.”
Next, Sen. Sullivan notes that new “U.S. highway construction projects usually take between nine and 19 years from initial planning and permitting to completion of construction, according to a 2002 Government Accountability Office study. It will have taken 14 years to permit an expansion of Gross Reservoir in Colorado, and it took almost 20 years to permit the Kensington gold mine in Alaska. It took four years to construct a new runway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, but it took 15 years to get the permits.”
Those aren’t the only examples Sen. Sullivan, (R-AK), cites. Here’s another pair of examples:
It took Shell seven years and $7 billion to get White House permission to drill a single oil-exploration well off the coast of Alaska. Never mind that the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act requires that resources in those waters “be made available for expeditious and orderly development.” This capricious permitting was part of why Shell halted its operations in Alaska, stranding enormous oil and gas resources and killing thousands of potential jobs.
The Keystone XL pipeline languished in permitting purgatory for almost the entire two terms of the Obama administration before the president finally killed it in 2015. Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, called the president’s actions a “cynical manipulation of the approval process.” President Obama also recently halted the Dakota Access pipeline, though in September a federal court determined that the project complied with arduous permitting, legal and consultation requirements.
Gov. Dayton’s first MPCA commissioner, Paul Aasen, bragged in an op-ed about litigating the Big Stone II power plant in South Dakota into quitting.
Though then-Candidate Trump didn’t say this during the campaign, when he talked about America’s crumbling infrastructure, he should’ve said that it’s crumbling because environmental activists have virtually litigated these projects to death. Rarely do you hear about light rail projects coming under scrutiny. I’ve never heard of a wind farm getting subjected to this type of scrutiny. Why haven’t we?
This is the solution:
Mr. Trump is set to reverse the Obama administration’s abysmal permitting record, but Congress also has a responsibility. Last year I introduced the Regulations Endanger Democracy Act, or RED Tape Act, which would cap federal regulations with a simple one-in-one-out rule. When an agency issues a new regulation, it must repeal an old one. (Mr. Trump has suggested removing two for every one that is added.) Even though the idea has been successfully implemented in Canada and the United Kingdom, not a single Senate Democrat voted for it, and the legislation died.
Another bill I wrote would expedite federal permitting to repair or rebuild thousands of crumbling bridges across our country, but it received only three Democratic votes on the Senate floor. Once again my colleagues across the aisle prevented this reform from being implemented.
It’s time to tell Democrats that we won’t let them get away with these anti-progress tactics without them getting scrutinized in public. Let’s instruct them that each time they use these tactics, they should expect political attacks that demand Democrats to defend their votes against streamlining government. Let’s hear them explain why they’re standing in the way of major infrastructure projects.
Democrats haven’t lifted a finger to streamline the permitting process. Why haven’t they? I think it’s clear that they’re sitting silent because that’s what their environmental activist allies want. It’s time to start doing what’s right for all Americans rather than doing what’s right for the special interests.
Technorati: Donald Trump, Dan Sullivan, Permitting, Infrastructure Projects, Al-Can Highway, Interstate Highways, Airport Runways, Oil Exploration, Reservoirs, Republicans, Dakota Access Pipeline Project, Sierra Club, Beyond Coal, Special Interests, Democrats