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OpenMarket: Lands and Wildlife

  • The Real Victim in the Dakota Access Pipeline Controversy Is the Company behind the Project

    November 2, 2016

    The real victim in the controversy over the Dakota Access Pipeline is Dakota Access Services, the company behind the $3.7 billion project that would move almost 500,000 barrels of oil daily from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to a refining hub in Illinois. The operators of the pipeline are being jerked around by the government, environmentalists, and the Standing Rock Sioux, all of whom are acting in varying degrees of bad faith.

    President Obama Yanked the Rug out from under Dakota Access Partners

    The pipeline route is 99% on private land. As such, the federal government’s role is quite limited. In fact, the U.S. government’s jurisdiction extends only to the immediate area where the pipeline crosses navigable waterways.

    After jumping through all the appropriate hoops, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permitted construction of the...

  • Celebrate World Conservation Day with Real Solutions

    July 28, 2016

    Today is World Nature Conservation Day, which brings to mind last Wednesday’s episode of The Diane Rehm Show in which guest host Frank Sesno presented a discussion of new efforts to save...
  • Opportunities for the Environmental Entrepreneur

    July 12, 2016

    I had the honor to chair a panel and speak at the 10th ICREI conference in France on environmental issues last week. This year’s conference was about environmental entrepreneurship in particular, and the...
  • Unions and Environmentalists Oppose Plan to Address California's Rising Housing Costs

    May 25, 2016

    Everyone’s for affordable housing—except, it seems, some unions and environmentalists.

    On May 18, a coalition of unions and environmental advocacy groups—including the State Building & Construction Trades Council and Natural Resources Defense Council—wrote to lawmakers to voice their opposition to a proposal by Governor Jerry Brown to encourage more building of lower-cost housing by expediting the state’s environmental impact review process.

    Brown’s proposal would exempt projects planned on land zoned for high-density development from burdensome review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Note that those projects would already have had to qualify under local zoning ordinances.

    Green activists are often hostile to development in general....

  • Burning Ivory Is Not the Solution

    May 3, 2016

    A few days ago, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta set fire to giant pile after giant pile of elephant ivory confiscated from poachers. Some 105 tons of ivory from over 8,000 elephants as well as 300 rhino horns. Worth some $150 million.

    This was the largest such stockpile ever destroyed since Kenya began this program back in the 1980s.

    Supposedly this is to send a message to poachers and ivory dealers. “Today Kenya will set fire to the ivory trade,” tweeted WildAid, an organization that “fights for wildlife by targeting consumer demand for illicit products including ivory, rhino horn and shark fin.”

    It would appear, however, that the message is not getting over to the poachers....

  • Regulation Poses Biggest Threat to Monarch Butterflies

    March 7, 2016

    Like many nature lovers and gardeners, last year I launched a milkweed garden for monarch butterflies, starting from seed. After a long summer of manually picking pesky milkweed bugs and aphids off the plants, I noticed one monarch caterpillar. Success! I hope that caterpillar made it to the butterfly stage, and then took off to Mexico where many monarchs overwinter.

    My efforts represent a tiny part of a larger effort to save these butterflies through private conservation, whose numbers have dwindled in recent decades. Such efforts may have begun to pay off as the...

  • War on Logging Claims another Casualty

    January 28, 2016

    Sierra Pacific Industries is permanently closing its Arcata, California, sawmill, a third-generation family-owned forest products company and one of largest landowners in the United States. First built by Red Emmerson’s father in 1951, it was out on the Samoa Peninsula in Arcata, on the northern California coast.

    The main reason for the closing is that the company couldn’t harvest suitably sized logs from the forests—in addition to all the other growing regulatory burdens and the prolonged recession and slow housing market. Sierra Pacific tried to truck in logs from California’s interior and ship them from Washington State and British Columbia, but it proved way too expensive.

    Now Canadian firms are shipping in the logs and timber that American...

  • How Markets Benefit Honeybees and Mankind

    August 3, 2015

    After more than a decade of panicked reports about honeybees disappearing and potentially going extinct because of a phenomenon called “colony collapse disorder,” The Washington Post reported last week that the number of hives in the United States has reached a 20 year high. At the same time, I was making presentation at a meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council, explaining that globally, there are more beehives today than there were in 1961,...

  • How to Improve the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill

    April 28, 2015

    The Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill for FY 2016 passed by the House Appropriations Committee spends too much, but does move some funding from very bad programs to somewhat less bad programs. 

    The best thing in the bill is the set of riders that prohibit the Army Corps of Engineers from implementing the proposed Waters of the United States rule. That rule if implemented would expand federal jurisdiction far beyond what was intended by Congress in Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, and far beyond the current definition or any reasonable definition of the navigable waters of the United States. The WOTUS rule also ignores and largely contradicts the Supreme Court’s decisions in SWANCC and Rapanos. 

    Here are a few suggestions for improving the Energy and Water Appropriations bill when it comes to the floor of the House this week:

    1. A rider...
  • A Voluntary Approach to Helping the Honeybee

    April 8, 2015

    Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute published my paper on the honeybee health issue and pesticide use. We have had several media outlets ask, why is CEI focused on the honeybee issue now? If you read this blog, you know that I have been writing about pesticides and their impact on public health and well-being for at least a decade and a half.

    CEI selects issues based on our goals to promote freedom and prosperity, using the market to advance public health and well-being. I focus on chemicals, which I believe are under appreciated and misunderstood market-generated technologies that advance human well-being.  My work on pesticides has focused on allowing strategic uses to ...

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