Gavin Newsom's greenie dreams strangled in CaIlfornia's own red tape

For Gavin Newsom, California Dreamin' is the greenie dream, transforming the state's entire economy through green and benevolent central planning, to save the planet.  It's all for the little guy's own good, of course.

He's got big dreams, all right — with plans to shell out $180 billion in federal and state taxpayer cash on greenie infrastructure for just this purpose.

Just one problem, according to the Wall Street Journal:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to expedite government approvals of clean energy, transit and other major infrastructure projects by limiting the amount of time they can be held up by lengthy reviews under the state's landmark environmental law. 

The move, which Newsom said would be accomplished mostly through state legislation he is proposing, comes as California seeks to accelerate construction of clean energy plants and transmission lines crucial to meeting its ambitious climate goals.

Among the changes Newsom is calling for are expedited court reviews for lawsuits seeking to block projects under the California Environmental Quality Act, and limiting the number of documents under review during litigation.

The Democratic governor joins a growing list of politicians from both parties who are backing permitting reform, as lengthy environmental reviews have imposed yearslong delays for energy projects across the country.

Here's a video of his efforts:

The delays, which have plagued the private sector for decades, and which can take a decade for anything to ever get approved, is why the state, in its less politically connected areas at least, has that run-down third world look of zero maintenance or improvements.  It's why the state's vaunted bullet train is a national laughingstock, being plagued by big cost overruns and not even making it to San Francisco from Los Angeles as promised.  And of course, it's one reason why the whole state isn't driving electric cars and parking them in "green" buildings.

So now Newsom's reduced to trying to do something about all the red tape which make any economic activity, except, of course, the illegal pot trade, the illegal human-smuggling rackets, and the illegal retail theft rackets, impossible to get going.

"It's about saving time and saving money and addressing bureaucratic malaise," Newsom told reporters at the site of a solar farm and battery storage project under way in Stanislaus County. "We can't just keep saying no." 

He called it the most ambitious permitting reform effort the state has taken on in 50 years.

The Journal points to a host of special interest groups that have had their fingers in the legislative trough as being responsible for all the red tape gumming up the state:

Changes to the California Environmental Quality Act have in the past been hampered by opposition from a host of interest groups, including environmentalists wary of the effects of development, and labor unions whose members are concerned the transition to a green economy could increasingly rely on a nonunion workforce. 

Newsom seems to have gotten at least some unions onboard with his red tape–cutting effort (the Journal notes a number of projects they nixed based on their not getting enough of a cut), but the environmental groups had ominous warnings for him, with a Sierra Club leader saying his group had "not been consulted."

That rather reveals the scope of the problem.  Newsom does nothing without the Sierra Club's say-so, and the Sierra Club is one of the groups that already has written all the red-tape environmental legislation that makes the state so wretched for even green development.  Even on greenie projects, the Sierra Club seems to have a mafia boss role in the state, as do a couple of others.  They will be "consulted" about what gets built, or else.

With that going on, let's see how effective Newsom is at getting anything greenie built, given the Sierra Club's opposition to everything without tribute paid and sweeteners delivered.  Sure, he says he has the unions on his side, but that's dubious, too.  It highlights that Newsom is a spider caught in his own Democrat web and looks a little stupid.

As Newsom prepares to make a run for the White House, in 2024, or else in the elections beyond, it behooves Republicans to remind voters that this doofus is nothing but a puppet on these special interests' strings, which have made the state such a hellish place for building or doing any business.  The private sector has long known about these things, as do the citizens fleeing, but now the public works projects are caught up in it, too.  Special interests have power beyond anything the citizens are told about, and Newsom goes right along like a poodle on a leash, except that he can't actually get anything done.

Image: Screen shot from Forbes video via YouTube.

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