An environmental review process is an organized procrastination – by Rex Murphy (National Post – January 30, 2016)

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During the environmental review process for the Keystone XL pipeline, the Earth made eight full revolutions around the sun, U.S. President Barack Obama turned grey and the grand hotels of Poznari, Copenhagen, Cancun, Durban, Dohai, Warsaw, Lima and Paris offered shelter and sustenance to the jet-setting nomads of the church of climate change.

Keystone was given eight full years of protests, hearings, lawsuits, editorials, seminars, submissions, arguments and grandstanding — all to get to a big, fat “no” from Obama.

Yet Obama’s ultimate answer was preordained. During much of those eight years, it seemed like Congress, the U.S. State Department or various unions might give Keystone a splinter of brittle hope. But the environmentalist lobby — the Sierra Club, David Suzuki, Greenpeace and the green factions of every city and town — crowded the halls of Washington or Ottawa.

In response, the always elastic environmental review process was extended, redefined, subjected to presidential delays and put up for debate — again and again. Keystone, in other words, was utterly stonewalled.

At its climax, in the decaying days of his presidency, Obama, the great procrastinator, put the kibosh on the project to add gloss to his heal-the-planet pretensions. But not before the companies behind the project had spent $2.4 billion, while the perpetual motion machine of the review process ground furiously and spuriously away.

To be sure, $2.4 billion is a lot of money. You could cancel a lot of gas plants for $2.4 billion. And all of this was for nothing. Do you think there might be something wrong with a “process” that takes eight years and sucks up the energy and hopes of hundreds or thousands of people, in order to reach a purely negative conclusion?

For the rest of this column, click here: http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/rex-murphy-an-environmental-review-process-is-an-organized-procrastination

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