October 30, 2011


The Cape Wind experience also shows that it does not take much to gum up the regulatory gears for new projects of this sort. Opposition to Cape Wind has been driven by a few dozen families willing to invest their time and money to influence the regulatory process — and it’s worked. It does not matter whether a proposed project is popular with local residents, as a relatively small group of naysayers can exploit existing regulatory requirements to slow things down in the hope of eventually killing the project altogether. If other offshore wind projects are to succeed where Cape Wind has (thus far) failed, they will must prepare for similar opposition, and encourage regulatory reforms that will streamline wind project development and approval.

Perhaps people on the right should start trying harder to take advantage of statutes that allow people to gum up the works. If nothing else, the use of such techniques to advance rightish causes will cause the press to suddenly take a more critical look at the underlying laws . . . .

UPDATE: From the comments: “I think there is a legal Laffer curve, and we are choking on so much law we are now past the inflection point.” Thanks to reader Fred Siesel for pointing this one out.

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