A report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce claims four energy producing projects in Iowa that have been canceled or stalled could have created 5,500 jobs.
Economist Peter Morici reviewed the study and blames a permit process that can delay energy projects for years. He says, as of last year, 350 energy projects were halted nationwide. “We just have to get on with these kinds of things. We are shooting ourselves in the foot,” Morici said. “That’s why this country is not growing at five or six percent a year and it’s only growing at three percent. It’s because we are not doing the things we could do and this (report) documents an important slice of that.”
William Kovacs, with the U.S.Chamber of Commerce, says standardizing the permitting process would benefit companies without infringing on citizens’ rights to oppose an energy project. “We are not talking about taking away anyone’s rights or changing the substance of any laws,” Kovacs said. “We are talking about a coordinated effort to have the permitting process coordinated and handled in a short period of time so the good projects can make a presentation and move into the marketplace and the bad projects are killed and the money moves somewhere else.”
The four projects in Iowa cited in the report include two coal-fired energy plants that have been canceled. The two other projects remain in the permit process; the Green Power Express, a transmission project, and the Big River Resources Ethanol Plant in Grinnell.