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Who doesn't hate bureaucracy? Gen Y has grown up their entire lives being taught that government needs to be slashed, get out of the way of the private sector, etc. So it's not surprising, just saddening, that they think NEPA is a problem.

The main reason we "don't build big projects anymore" is twofold. One, the Cold War is over, and two, so is the Depression. It's not a question of cowardice and silly regulations. It's because America loves big projects until it's tax time. The only way you can get stuff like this through is by pointing to an overwhelming national threat...and, as a corollary, not telling people all that much about the details. There was incredible, overwhelming opposition to the interstate system that lasted for decades. It even served as the plot of several movies. The government essentially didn't care...and, like Social Security, another program that Certain Folks tried to kill for 20 years, the interstates now seem like a central part of the social fabric. It's not environmental regs that's stopping a national rail network. It's Facebook and the ability it gives people to organize for all the wrong reasons.

Because the real foe of regulations back to the 19th century has been the robber capitalist. No hyperbole here and no Marxist flummery; the record is clear. Thiel and Koch and Musk wail about those terrible regulations. If it weren't for those, we'd all be living on Mars! And so on. We'd also do a horrendous amount of environmental damage and the rewards would disproportionately benefit the robber barons. They'd be reaping the gains and externalizing the costs, which I have a real problem with.

I was alive during the 1970s when these regulations began to get underway...from Nixon, mostly, of all people. We had about half the population we do today, and things were almost unimaginably dirtier, more dangerous, and less equitable. The reason there are turkeys in Massachusetts, eagles in North Carolina, and alligators in Florida is because their environments are protected. You don't see literal heaps of garbage around roadsides and stop signs, because people used to just heave it out the car window. Let's not even talk about chemical companies (such as Solvay Chemical) simply dumping raw toxins into community waterways. Love Canal is famous, but it was one of hundreds of places.

Blocking a bike way is a straw man argument if ever I saw one. No, what NEPA is blocking is somebody paving over the Everglades to make a mall. ("But malls are dead!"--EXACTLY.) 'Cause I don't get it--on the one hand government is horrible and inefficient and bad and can't do anything ever, and on the other we need to Build Big Stuff? Who's going to do that? The guy who *literally* models himself after Sauron? Think his efforts are going to be equally beneficial to all and the environment we all have to live in?

I love love love the Optimism concept. I have to say, heading into my 53rd year, this combo of "government sucks" and "we'd have nice things if we only got rid of laws" is *terrifying*.

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