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Fixing America

Are environmental concerns preventing the modernization of our infrastructure?

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  • Anonymous

    RE Infrastructure – 1. USA foundation is cheap en ergy. Ours is now natural gas. US cannot compete with East Asia using wind/solar power. 2. Davis-Bacon Act prohibits US from rebuilding infrastructure. OIpen market labor and professionals is about 1/2 of Davis-Bacon wage scale. So our problem is political. I don’t blame PBS for ignoring the elephants on the coffee table [nat gas and Davis-Bacon] becasue PBS is beooming a sounding board for Uncle Sam. You are not permitted to speak the unbiased truth. You are another special interest group. In this case, promoting wind/solar givaways of tax dollarsw as campaign payoffs to DEM and GOP financial heavy hitters.

  • Anonymous

    We need even stronger environmental laws than we now have. The people who want to build infrastructure simply do not take long term cost/benefit into account. I have been involved in many such projects. The developers claim that they must have these things or the economy will suffer, but always they fail to take into account any of the externalized costs. Those people who righteously oppose these projects, use small things like historic significance, etc. to stave off quick decisions. We know that the government will eventually grant just about any permit, no matter how devastating or how cost ineffective over the life of the project. They attempt to hold them off as long as possible. First the European conqurers came and took the land away fromthe Native peoples. Now they are taking it away from the poor and those who have no power, especially those who live in rural areas, and in poverty centers. The US does not need more highways, and yet they keep being built. We need soem common sense plannng that takes future generations and future maintainance costs as well as helathy ecosystems into consideration when planning anything. That would mean putting people over profit.

  • lgfromillinois

    Consquences from not thinking through every project may lead to disasters, flooding, pollution, etc. What happened in Japan to the nuclear plant after the earthquake two years ago should give us reason to question rapid judgments.

  • Barry in Minneapolis

    While environmental concerns ARE important and much be considered before a major project begins, it’s important that these concerns are researched and dealt with on a TIMELY basis. There should probably be a set time allotted for studies prior to project approval. If serious, reasonable problems arise, then it would be reasonable to hold up the project. But endless time being taken and so many agency approvals means that it’s possible that costs will skyrocket and the technology required for the project might actually become obsolete while waiting!

  • Eggbert Hardwoods

    this program misidentified the problem. The impediment to infrastructure maintenance is not environmental concerns, it is cumbersome bureaucracy. It is necessary to address both infrastructure improvement and environmental concerns. The process just needs to be streamlined. Confusing environmental issues with cumbersome bureaucracy sends entirely the wrong message.

  • Anna N.

    Environmental concerns must always take precedent over economic concerns. Without a vibrant thriving environment all life on this planet will die. When that happens the economy is pointless.

    Most of the infrastructure projects in the 20th century were very negative for the environment and wildlife. Look at the dams that have destroyed salmon runs. Look at the power plants that poison our air. Look at the scourge of plastic and landfills. Yes, we have electricity and the Internet but is the convenience worth the immense damage to the environment?

    I think not.

  • Highlander58

    I believe in conservation,but without any ? there are2 many regulations in the way, for les say wind farming on the grat lakes, ect, ect.

  • deserthackberry

    Environmental concerns aren’t the reason our existing infrastructure is crumbling. The fact that Houston’s water system is riddled with leaks has to do with its libertarian “no taxes, no zoning, no planning” culture. Likewise, environmental concerns aren’t the primary reason we stopped developing renewables 3 decades ago. Notice that the development of solar now focuses on razing large swathes of the Mohave desert rather than putting solar panels on rooftops as the Germans do. The energy industry will block renewable energy unless THEY can centralize its distribution as they do now.

  • Barry Bennett

    Please don’t blame NEPA! The U.S hasn’t kept up infrastructure investment and maintenance because of the Conservative Movement’s dogma of smaller government best expressed by The Club for Growth, the Heritage Foundation, Koch Brothers, Grover Norquist, et. al,. Since 1981, the “Uppermost 2%” have acquired more and more power, and as a result, are paying less and less as a percentage of their income in taxes.

    35 to 40 years ago our nation made a series of bold statutory commitments declaring that clean water, clean air, and the health of our children and future generations of children were nonnegotiable birthrights These rights are best expressed in the series of landmark environmental legislation such as the Clean Air Act of 1970, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Endangered Species Acts of 1972, and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1973.

    I would like to respectfully challenge the very professional journalists at PBS and Need to Know to do some reporting making the case for strengthening NEPA and the other landmark environmental laws. Please tell the story of how NEPA, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and Clean Air Acts were weakened with loopholes during the George W. Bush administration. Tell how the Haliburton Loophole was written into the 2005 Energy Bill. Describe how the Oil and Gas Industry have been lobbying to block passage of the Frack Act since 2008!

  • mcav

    Beijing, China will show you what “progress” looks like in a polluted, uninhabitable world without environmental safeguards. Pollution migrates and does not discriminate so let’s take the time to protect the human race.