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OpenMarket: Lands and Wildlife

  • 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 ...

  • Green Exploitation of the Monarch Butterfly

    October 20, 2014

    Butterflies offer powerful imagery for environmental groups looking to advance their agendas. After all, who doesn’t want to save these beautiful creatures? Surely green activists could leverage those desires to advance voluntary efforts to create butterfly habitat. But the actions of some groups indicates that they would rather exploit the butterflies to gain policy victories in Washington, even if the butterflies suffer as a result.

    Conservationists rightly point out that monarch butterflies face challenges associated with habitat loss because there are not enough of the type of plants that they need for food and reproduction. In particular, these creatures feed and reproduce among milkweed, a flower that many people consider to be nothing more than an undesirable weed. As a result, farmers, homeowners, and other property owners have removed these plants, leaving less...

  • Honeybee Population in Decline—Or Not?

    August 13, 2014

    If you read the news about honeybee survival, it’s all very confusing. Some sources sound the alarm by pointing out that the number of honeybee hives has dropped significantly in recent decades. Others say just the opposite: There are more hives today than ever before.

    Which is it? Actually, both.  Some regions of the world have fewer hives, while globally there are more commercial hives now than there were in 1960....

  • House Brings Transparency to Endangered Species Act, Still Needs to Protect Property Rights

    July 30, 2014

    Today the House passed H.R. 4315, the 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act. Unfortunately, it likely has no chance of passing in the Senate and word is out from the White House that the president would veto the bill.

  • CEI Sues National Park Service and Interior Department under FOIA over Government Shutdown Documents

    April 23, 2014
    Last night, CEI filed suit against the United States Department of the Interior and the National Park Service for failing to produce documents in response to two pairs of Freedom of Information Act requests. Those requests, sent to them way back on October 9, dealt with these agencies' closures of private businesses and privately-run tourist attractions in the 2013 federal government shutdown, and also with their closures of public monuments and spaces, which are often open to the public even when no federal employee is on duty. The agencies have neither produced documents, nor set an estimated date for when they will be produced, nor indicated how many documents they might...
  • Supreme Court Overwhelmingly Votes to Uphold Rights of Private Property Owners

    March 12, 2014
    The Supreme Court has decided an important property rights case in favor of the private property owners and against the claim of the federal government by an eight-to-one majority. Surprisingly, the Court’s liberal Justices, with the exception of Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissenting, signed Chief Justice John Roberts’s March 10 decision. In reversing the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Court ruled, in Brandt Revocable Trust et al. v. United States, that a right of way granted to a railroad in 1908 did not revert to the federal government when the railroad abandoned the tracks in 2004. The original right of way was over federal land, but 83 acres of that land were patented in 1976 in a land swap with the U. S. Forest Service. The Department of Justice argued that even though those 83 acres had...
  • Good News to Share Over the Holidays: The World Is Getting Better

    December 2, 2013
    In the middle of this holiday season my colleague Stephanie Rugolo over at the Cato's new project, HumanProgress.org, is spreading cheer by getting out the word about the improving human condition. She offered these thoughts which I'd like to share:

    Good News to Share Over the Holidays: The World Is Getting Better

    You’ve heard it all before, “The world is becoming increasingly violent,” “Work-related injuries are on the rise,” “Soon, we’ll have no more forests.” As it turns out, pessimism is often at odds with the real world. Long term trends for nearly every indicator of human progress are positive. For instance, forest coverage in rich countries is increasing in line with the Environmental Kuznets Curve. This trend will hopefully continue in the developing world as...

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