Enviro Paperwork Strangling the Economy

Just imagine that every time you went out to dinner, that you had to pay somebody to come along and test your food before you could eat it. You certainly would go out to dinner less and less often. Not just because of the expense but because it is just too weird to have someone looking over your shoulder every minute.


Which is precisely what the environmental movement is doing to every business in America.


Here is the opening sentence of the executive summary of a September 2010 environmental impact statement about a cement production plant on the Hudson River 130 miles north of New York City:


‘Lafarge Building Materials, Inc. (Lafarge)  proposes to modernize and expand its existing cement manufacturing facility in the Town of Coeymans in Albany, County, New York (the “Ravena Plant”) by constructing a state-of-the-art energy efficient and economically and environmentally sustainable cement manufacturing plant….’ (end of excerpt)


The whole project requires the replacement of two “wet” kilns, with one efficient “dry” kiln. Simple enough you might think.


Hardly. This Executive Summary is the opening page of an environmental impact statement that is 6 inches thick and is chock full on every single page with detailed environmental and engineering information.


So why does a plant that simply wants to upgrade to a more modern and efficient facility need such a massive environmental impact review? Because the statement itself surely cost many millions, perhaps even more than the plant modernization.


Answer: Because the enviro movement is not about the environment. It is populated by leftists who are seeking to shut down the American economy by saddling it with endless costs like this enviro impact statement. Even Patrick Moore, the founder of Greenpeace, quit his own organization because he said it had been hijacked by economic extremists from the left.


These bureaucratic enviro vultures fly above every single project in America and are strangling our nation. Another enviro impact statement for one single cell-phone pole in the nearby town of Chatham, New York is 4 inches thick.  For one single pole, 115 feet tall, five feet in diameter at its base… The cost of the statement is passed on to customers whose cell phones use the tower.


These are just two projects out of thousands across the nation that are under assault via paperwork, bureaucracy and no-growth activism. And these very expensive studies are part of the Democrat party’s attack on our prosperity and our freedom while liberals talk about how much they want to “halt the decline of the middle class”.


This is baloney. The middle class is being pushed over a cliff because businesses are being endlessly harassed and hamstrung by environmental extremists and other forces from the Democrat-party left including ruthless taxation, endless regulation, government mandates like health care, lawsuits and labor union agitation.


Because if business cannot expand, the middle class will have no jobs. That is why we conservatives want these draconian enviro regs largely loosened and in many cases eliminated. This Lafarge statement is totally unnecessary.


Go into any small town in America and you can hear about economic development projects that are shut down by enviro activists or no-growth activists, or reviewed to death. This is why so many millions of Americans are unemployed. Because the enviro movement is throttling our economy. While the Media Left cries rivers over unemployment.


In the same region as the cement plant, there is a glossy tourist magazine called Berkshire Homestyle. It caters primarily to the wealthy urban and suburban elites from New York City, New Jersey, Long Island etc. who vacation in this beautiful and bucolic region. Homestyle also is avidly read and advertised in by the educated Urban Refugees who have moved out of New York City to “the country” to have a more relaxed lifestyle.


Homestyle is chock full of easy reading, art reviews, wine reviews, restaurant reviews and advertisements for expensive organic foods, elite architects and homebuilders, high-end restaurants, pricey fabric shops and ornamental iron specialists, high-cost art and music venues, investment advisors and multimillion dollar homes.


In other words, there is nothing for the less-educated working-class “little people” who have lived in the region for hundreds of years. Homestyle is an example of a new leftist economy designed for rich people – largely Democrats – who accumulate their wealth in the cities of America, then give heavily to enviro groups who smother economic development projects all over rural and small-town America.


Homestyle’s editorial bent is strictly left wing. Here is an excerpt:


‘The Berkshires, and our larger region, are well positioned to resist easy solutions that may turn toxic. A good example of successful grass-roots action is the defeat, in 2005, by the people of Columbia County, of  a cement plant in Hudson. Today, the city of Hudson and Columbia County are flourishing without the “benefits” offered by outside forces, also promising easy money and, falsely, lots of new jobs’. (end of excerpt)


That was yet another cement plant project, one that was completely shot down. Its owner, a Canadian firm called St. Lawrence Cement, was proposing to build a totally new facility that would have used the latest low-pollution, energy-efficient technology and that would have brought many needed jobs to the region for the working-class “locals” in a new era of cement making.


But to the left, “outside forces” are companies like St. Lawrence, while the real “outside forces” that really shut down the Hudson project are urban enviro groups. It was not ‘the people of Columbia County’ who stopped the St. Lawrence plant. It was a coordinated attack on St. Lawrence by obstructionist locals; urban, regional and local enviro groups; New York state officials (who legally killed the plant); university enviro groups and activists; and elite enviro leaders like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and billionaire US senator John Kerry. Signs against the St. Lawrence project were planted on the lawns of wealthy homeowners 40 miles east in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Yet “the local people” of the area had little representation. They wanted the plant.


Meanwhile the “flourishing” economy is made up primarily of art galleries, pottery makers, architects and real estate agents serving the urban elite, and who are not doing so great themselves these days either. Meanwhile the “locals” see their economy contracting relentlessly. And rest assured that the cement production that now will not happen in Hudson will go to “working people” in foreign countries where enviro rules are non-existent. This will cost America jobs, just as the phony controversy over the ‘spotted owl’ in the forests of Oregon and Washington in the 1990s put 30,000 American loggers out of work and sent the jobs straight to Canada.


It is time to stop these enviro extremists from making our people poor. We can bring back prosperity rapidly by stopping the Democrat party from ruining our economy. The environmentalists are the worst offenders.


 Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can read excerpts from my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.