President Obama mentioned recently that he is preparing to tell all federal agencies for the first time that they should consider the impact on climate change before approving major projects, from pipelines to highways. He will not implement his plan via a bill that congress must approve but through an executive order.
President Obama gave an address at Argonne National Laboratory, where he proposed to spend $2 billion on an energy-security trust fund for renewable fuel research. Obama boldly pledged “to shift our cars entirely . . . off oil.”
…on the day of Obama’s Argonne speech, the Department of Energy released a series of coordinated reports called “Transportation Energy Futures” (developed in cooperation with Argonne). This DOE project explores a variety of strategies designed to curb America’s greenhouse gas emissions up to 80 percent by about 2050. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t hear about these DOE reports
Arguably the most controversial of those reports covers the “effects of the built environment on transportation.” To put it plainly, the “built environment” report lays out strategies the federal government can use to force development away from suburbs and into cities, supposedly for the sake of reducing carbon dioxide emissions given off by all those suburban commuters. The Obama administration wants to force so-called smart growth policies on the country: get out of your car, stay out of the suburbs, move into small, tightly-packed urban apartment complexes, and walk or take public transportation instead of driving. A close look at the “reduce car use” section suggests “full cost pricing” that would entail a tax on gasoline “to cover the estimated harmful environmental and health costs of driving.” It goes on to say that this would amount to $12 per gallon and should be gradually phased in like Europe!
So what else is Smart Growth Tools ?
Limits and Regulations:Limit building permits
Draw urban growth boundaries
Create greenbelts around cities
Zoning:Promote mixed use of housing and small business
Concentrate development along mass transportation routes
Planning:Ecological land use planning
Environmental impact analysis
Integrated regional planning
Protection:Protect open space
Buy new open space
Prohibit certain types of development
Taxes:Tax land not buildings
Tax Breaks:For owners agreeing not to allow certain types of development
Revitalization and New Growth:Build well-planned towns and villages within cities
You can see what is coming. The only projects that will get approval will be those in the cities. A developer wants to build a new subdivision in a suburb will find the permits denied or delayed indefinitely while the impact on climate change is reviewed and reviewed again. Need to add roads or schools to a suburb? Sorry! It would produce too much green house gases. The idea will be to make too expensive to live in the suburbs.
And, of course, there are all those federal grants that local politicians can’t turn down funding it all. A review of the prior blog post shows the type of studies Connect is doing here locally with a HUD Grant. Connect seems to be the data collection phase to justify imposing all these new growth and job killing regulations.