A Property Rights Solution to Endangered Salmon

Writing for PERC, R. David Simpson gives an intriguing example of salmon preservation: Native American tribes in Oregon considered bidding on a dam license (to change its operations in ways that would  protect salmon). The result: a productive relationship with the dam owners—a cooperative effort to protect salmon.

Here is an excerpt from Simpson’s paper:

Salmon had been in decline on the Deschutes River in northern Oregon, a tributary of the Columbia, since Portland General Electric began construction of the Pelton Round Butte Dam Complex in the mid-1960s. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, a consortium of local Native American groups, were guaranteed the right to fish for salmon on the Deschutes River under an 1855 treaty.

As salmon declined, the tribes faced both economic and cultural impoverishment. Controversy and finger-pointing attended discussions of the causes of the salmon decline, with the tribes blaming the Portland General Electric dams and the utility pointing to both up- and downstream threats to salmon. Continue reading “A Property Rights Solution to Endangered Salmon”

Medical Waste Grows, Solar Energy Destroys Habitat, Skeptics Reappear. . .

Medical waste from coronavirus is mounting.

BBC: Renewable energy is eating up wildlife habitat. HT Benny Peiser.

Wikipedia deletes list of scientists who are skeptics on apocalyptic climate change; JoNova retrieves their names.  

Bjorn Lomborg: How we can reduce indoor air pollution in Ghana. Continue reading “Medical Waste Grows, Solar Energy Destroys Habitat, Skeptics Reappear. . .”

How I Became a Free-Market Environmentalist in France

By Max Falque.

The managing director of ICREI, the International Center for Research on Environmental Issues, Max Falque is based in Aix-en-Provence, France. He tells the story of how he changed from a French bureaucrat to a proponent of environmental protection using private property and markets.  From his essay, “Why Did I Become a Free-Market Environmentalist?” in I Chose Liberty, edited by Walter Block.

Based on my family background, I should still worship central government and “service public,” like the great majority of French. My family shared two traditions: on my father’s side, conservative provincial and provençal bourgeoisie engaged in farming a family estate since the 16th century, and on my mother’s side, the value of the liberal, intellectual, Catholic beliefs. But everybody agreed about the sanctity of bureaucracy. Studying law at the Montpellier University in the 50s could not introduce me to classic liberal thinking, since the clear distinction between civil and administrative law was (and still is) a basic fact. In economics classes, references to Keynes and Samuelson left no room for unknown Austrian economics. The Communist party used to get nearly 30 percent at the general elections, and most “intellectuals” were at least fellow travelers or useful idiots, if not true believers.

***

The concept of free market environmentalism (FME) came as a revelation to me when meeting R.J. Smith at a Lincoln Institute conference at Harvard in July 1983. R.J., in a plenary session, briefly explained that land could be best managed by property rights and market instruments. Ann Louise Strong, as chair of the panel, dryly answered that this was outdated and inappropriate thinking. I felt sorry for R.J. and I invited him to discuss the issue at a neighboring pub. It was quite a fascinating evening and, back in France, R.J. sent me his recently published article, “Privatizing the Environment” (Policy Review, 1982). I was then introduced progressively to the FME literature and scholars. Continue reading “How I Became a Free-Market Environmentalist in France”

Hunters and Their Money Are Fading

By Wallace Kaufman

This is Part I of a three-part article. For Part II, see Hunters’ Last-Ditch Defenses. For Part III, see Will the Anti-Hunters Pay for Their Pleasure?

Many or most readers will soon strongly, even angrily, disagree with the conclusions of this essay, so let’s begin where we almost certainly agree. Hunters and their organizations have been heroes of wildlife habitat preservation and creation and of wildlife populations saved and restored. With some obvious exceptions, hunters have every right to think of themselves as environmentalists, but not “those environmentalists.”

Hunters plant thousands of acres in wildlife crops. Hunters paying their license fees have supported habitat protection with hundreds of millions of dollars. Long before the environmental movement began, hunters in Ducks Unlimited were doing work that saved more than six million acres of wetlands. Taxes on guns and ammo, along with license fees, now pay 60 percent of the budgets of state wildlife agencies. In Idaho alone, hunting permits contribute almost a half billion dollars to environmental programs. That is not the future. The social, environmental and economic services of hunting are already being replaced.

Three strong trends diminish the importance of hunting as a significant or desirable environmental strategy. Those trends are:

Continue reading “Hunters and Their Money Are Fading”

A Big Factor in Australian Fires

Both California and Australia restrict action by landowners to protect their property.

The Australian fires bring back sad reminders of the California experience. As with American wildfires, an ounce of prevention could have gone a long way to decrease the destruction.

As explained by Kat Dwyer of PERC, in a recent article in The Hill, an Australian law is making matters worse.

Controlled burns, once routinely used by farmers to reduce fuel around their properties, can now result in fines exceeding $500 per tree removed. Indeed, Liam Sheahan, a resident of Strath Creek in central Victoria, was fined $50,000 for clearing trees and shrubs around the perimeter of his home. He spent an additional $50,000 on legal fees defending his decision. After the Black Saturday bushfires devastated his community, Sheahan’s decision was vindicated as his home was the only one to remain standing.

Even the government’s land managers themselves are performing fewer controlled burns. According to Brian Williams, captain of Kurrajong Heights fire brigade, Australia has been burning less than 1 percent of its bushfire-prone land for the past 20 years. Similarly, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services reported that out of 812 hazard-reduction burns that have been planned since 2016, only 439 have been completed.

It is time to reconsider our public lands policy and lower the hurdles that prevent communities from acting to protect their homes and livelihoods. This is as true in the United States as it is in Australia.

The War against Poachers

Anti-poaching action leads to multiple deaths of rangers and poachers alike.

The International Ranger Federation reports that 269 rangers were killed across Africa between 2012 and 2018, the majority of them by poachers….

[R]esearch on organized crime estimates that between 150 and 200 poachers were killed in the Kruger National Park alone [between 2010 and 2015]. In neighboring Botswana, anti-poaching action has reportedly resulted in dozens of deaths, and the country’s controversial “shoot to kill” policy—which gives rangers powers to shoot poachers dead on sight—has drawn allegations of abuse.

From Cathleen O’Grady in the Atlantic.

And more:

South Africa’s most recent rhino-poaching crisis came out of the blue. In 2007, the country lost just 13 rhinos to poaching; the next year, that number jumped to 83, kicking off a nightmarish escalation. Losses peaked at 1,215 in 2014, and deaths are still high: 2018, with 769 rhinos killed, was the first year that losses had dipped under 1,000 since 2013. South Africa is home to 93 percent of Africa’s estimated 20,000 white rhinos and 39 percent of the remaining 5,000 critically endangered black rhinos, making South Africa’s rhino crisis a global rhino crisis.