This morning's editorial in The Boston Globe, "Offshore wind could die in the regulatory doldrums", is something one might have also read in The Wall Street Journal. If that doesn't catch your attention, please know it is a succinct statement of the threat endless litigation over government approvals poses to our future and it is worthy of your attention.
I have just two tiny nits to pick with the Globe Editorial Board.
First, it isn't so much the reviews that suppress investment in infrastructure projects. The regulated community can do a pretty good job of accounting for the time permitting reviews take in their planning. Would it be better if Government had the resources to move more quickly? Of course.
But, the deal killer is the prospect of endless litigation during and after those Government reviews. And the possibility that a single Judge can undo the result of years of planning and review. Until our Federal, State and Local Governments can fix that, we will continue to fall further and further behind.
Second, I wish The Globe had added climate resilience to its list of needed improvements subject to the same regulatory and litigation pitfalls.
And don't worry Globe Editorial Board, no one will confuse you for your counterparts at the Wall Street Journal.
Long environmental reviews and laws that hand inordinate power to opponents are not why America lags other counties in things like high-speed rail and green energy. But they are certainly a part of the reason. Massachusetts lost its chance to be a leader in offshore wind when Cape Wind failed — not because the state didn’t need it then, but because the regulatory and legal conditions here made it impossible to build. Hopefully, Vineyard Wind won’t meet the same fate. But without legal reforms, delivering the infrastructure the country needs will be that much harder, slower, more expensive — and less likely to happen at all.