West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin wants to cut a bipartisan compromise on energy. It’s not a crazy idea, but the risk is that Democrats will lure Republicans into accepting superficial permitting reforms in return for a gusher of green energy spending.
Any worthwhile deal, at a minimum, should make the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) a less lethal regulatory weapon. While a large pipeline can be built in a year or two, federal permitting can take two to three times as long. If there are lawsuits—and there always are—you’re looking at a decade or more. Add that to the cost in present value of any energy or other project.