The Gazette | GUEST COLUMN: America’s energy future limited by regulations

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In recent years, a number of states and the federal government have been working to increase the amount of renewable energy in America’s power grid. Unfortunately, progress has been slow. For example, when it comes to harnessing offshore wind power, only a single project off Rhode Island has been installed to date in U.S. coastal waters.

Why the delays? In large part the answer is a lot of unnecessary governmental red tape. Although U.S. states have sanctioned nearly 17,000 megawatts of offshore wind power — something that states and environmentalists want — the bureaucratic obstacles involved have proven prohibitive. To locate and install these types of projects can require approvals from as many as 20 federal, state, and local agencies — and the process can take years.

This same brand of inefficiency has also created major hurdles for the development of new roads, bridges, pipelines, electric transmission lines, and other critical infrastructure. However, these hurdles might start to fall, now that the Trump administration has proposed improvements to the National Environmental Policy Act.

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