Will the enviros allow big public works projects to go forward? Hugh Hewitt, who has been defending landowners in environmental lawsuits, says no. Environmental restriction groups exist precisely to stop economic development, for whatever reasons they can think of. That's why their direct mail and big contributors give them money; that's what keeps their (often six-figure) salaries coming in; that's what they believe in. Advocates of major public works spending like to look back on the projects of New Dealers like Harry Hopkins, Harold Ickes, and Fiorello LaGuardia. All well and good. But Hopkins, Ickes, and LaGuardia were unusually gifted at getting things done; there's no assurance that their present-day counterparts will be so hugely competent. And Hopkins, Ickes, and LaGuardia didn't have to face an array of environmental restriction groups adept at using legal processes to prevent them from building the things they wanted to build. LaGuardia Airport and the Pentagon were each built in less than a year. The enviro groups won't let anything get permitted that fast in our time.
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