Our National Treasures – Was Secretary Watt Correct?

Interesting article in American Spectator this week by Robert Smith titled, An Environmentalist Deception, wherein Smith takes issue with fellow conservatives at the R Street Institute for celebrating the anniversary of Reagan’s establishment of Mount St.imagesCAOFESOR Helens National Volcanic Monument.  Here’s what prompted Smith’s retort:

R Street Associate Fellow Ryan Cooper pointed to research from the Headwaters Economics showing that since the monument’s establishment, the surrounding region has seen population grow by 30 percent, real personal income has grown by 62 percent, total jobs have grown by 42 percent and real per-capita income grew by 24 percent. Headwaters’ data suggests that in many cases, employers have explicitly chosen the area for its beauty, a major drawing point for highly skilled employees. Continue reading

Advertisements

Reagan’s Conservation Legacy – still timely and relevant today

Eli Lehrer has a great piece today in The Blaze on the conservation legacy of President Reagan.

I’m proud of having been one of the first to recognize that States and the
Federal Government have a duty to protect our natural resources from the
damaging effects of pollution that can accompany industrial development.
Ronald Reagan, July 14, 1984

Although Reagan certainly made his fair share of mistakes on the environment – the left-leaning NYT calling his legacy on the environment a stalemate – the Gipper’s instincts and actions largely helped to advance important farm and wetlandsconservation efforts through a judicious balance of traditional top-down regulations and market-based approaches.  It’s a timely discussion as Congress continues to debate the future of the Farm Bill, with huge implications for conservation across the Nation’s landscape.  According to Lehrer

By measures environmental groups typically use, Reagan’s environmental record should be considered a success. Under Reagan’s leadership, new lead production essentially ceased; particulate air pollution fell by 40 percent; a record 10 million acres of land received wilderness designation, the highest level of protection available; and the United States pushed for, and signed, a major agreement to eliminate chlorofluorocarbons, greenhouse gases that were driving the then-pressing problem of ozone depletion. Continue reading

Changing the Dialogue, Economics and Cultural Valuation of Species Protection

Props to Todd Gartner, of the World Resources Institute, and Laura Huggins, of the Property and Environmental Research Center, for joining efforts to promote innovative new ways to protect threatened and endangered species.  Todd and Laura are bold new voices on leveraging markets to accelerate the protection of habitat loss for many species struggling for their continued existence.

This work is absolutely essential for protecting T&E species of which over 75 percent can be found on private lands.  While the Endangered Species Act is an important piece of legislation, serving as a backstop from keeping species from being driven into extinction, ESA can also create perverse incentives to landowners who, rather than conserve critical habitat, quietly eliminate it before ESA locks down the uses and economic value of their property.  These new market-based initiatives enimagesCABAICJYcourage landowners to take proactive steps to conserve habitat before species are required to be listed under ESA.  Our goal as a society should  must be to transform species protection into a positive rather than a negative.  And the efforts of Todd and Laura are helping to change not only the economics but the dialogue and cultural valuation, which is even more important.

Free-market Environmentalism – Creating Sustainable Incentives

Great article today by Brad Plumer of WaPo regarding my friend, Jonathan Adler, arguing why conservatives can also be environmentalists.  Adler is a strong proponent of using private property rights to create the right incentives for promoting efficient and cost-effective imagesCA9LY8G3conservation – taking a more libertarian approach as I discussed previously here.   Adler has written extensively on free-market environmentalism.   On climate change, something which many conservatives respond to about as well as swallowing a hair ball, Adler is fully consistent in his argument. Continue reading