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OpenMarket: Lands and Wildlife

  • Property Rights Are the Key to Protecting Land

    December 23, 2016

    We often hear that only government can protect the environment through outright land ownership or heavy regulatory control of private land. Yet, time and again, private landowners’ stewardship has proven to be far superior to that of public land managers and regulators. That’s because private property and secure...
  • Can Trump (or Congress) Rescind Obama's Arctic Drilling Ban?

    December 21, 2016

    Talk about midnight regulations. President Obama yesterday designated “the vast majority of U.S. waters in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas as indefinitely off limits to offshore oil and gas leasing.” He also prohibited oil and gas operations in 26 underwater canyons in the Atlantic Ocean. In all, he “protected” (locked up) more than 125 million acres “for a time period without specific expiration.”

  • Free Market Opportunities for the Trump Administration

    November 10, 2016

    This election has given us one more demonstration that knowledge is dispersed and “trusting the experts” to know the future is foolish. The unexpected success of Donald Trump in the general election, however, has a lot of relevance for CEI’s policy work.

    Trade: The core element of Trump’s rhetoric is that free trade has...

  • 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...

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