One of the biggest barriers to investment in infrastructure all across the United States is the long, costly, and unpredictable permitting process. If you have any doubts, just consider the Keystone XL pipeline extension.
Proposed by TransCanada in 2008, approved by the Canadian government and the State of South Dakota in 2010, it floundered around in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Interior Department, and State Department for another five years before President Barack Obama rejected it on Nov. 6, 2015. A year and four months later, President Donald Trump reversed Mr. Obama’s decision and permitted Keystone XL.
Along the way, billions of dollars were put at risk, hundreds of millions lost, and Americans were whipped into furious conflict as supporters and opponents bickered.
With minor modifications, that story could be repeated for hundreds of infrastructure projects over the past decade and more.
Many of the delays and much of the waste could have been avoided with a more rational, more efficient, more transparent, and more rapid federal permitting process.
That’s what an executive order Mr. Trump released August 15 is intended to achieve.