Talking Points on the Environment #15
A Species Protection Plan That Works for Both Wildlife and Humans
Although most Americans oppose the excesses of the Endangered Species Act,
many also favor some form of species protection for the most valued species.
The best way to protect these species while protecting individual liberty is
through a voluntary, incentive-based system.
Elements of such a system might include:
- Tax for Nature Swaps: Incentives could be offered to private property
owners to create rather than destroy wildlife habitat by making changes to the
tax code. Losses in federal tax receipts resulting from such tax breaks would
be made up from profits generated from publicly-held natural resources.
- Advice and Information: The federal government's role in species
protection could be changed from a coercive role to an advisory one, thereby
fostering cooperation rather than confrontation. Government could offer
information resources to encourage and assist landowners with their own
- Cash for Species Protection: Cash payments could be provided to landowners
for their conservation efforts, ending the unfunded federal mandate for species
protection and strengthening private property rights in the process. The large
increases in federal ESA funding needed to make these payments could be paid
for with profits generated from publicly-held natural resources.
- Privatization: Greater "pride of ownership" -- and thus
environmental stewardship -- could be fostered by giving individuals greater
control over their own land and greater ownership of all lands (by selling off
some surplus federal land).
- Rewards for Responsibility and Innovation on Public Lands: Efforts to
preserve species on public lands could be enhanced by rewarding those who
improve habitat with such incentives as favorable lease terms.
- Conservation through Commerce: Private breeding of endangered and
threatened species could be encouraged by reducing government interference.
The development of private, for-profit wildlife and hunting reserves and
captive breeding programs in recent decades has led to the recovery of such
species as alligators in Florida, Bighorn sheep in Wyoming and elephants in
five African countries.
Recommendations developed based on information from David Ridenour of The
National Center for Public Policy Research; Myron Ebell, formerly of the
American Land Rights Association; John Shanahan of The Heritage Foundation; and
EcoSanity by Joseph L. Bast, Peter J. Hill and Richard C. Rue (Madison Books,
Issue Date: April 12, 1995.
Talking Points on the Economy: Environment #15, published by The National
Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Ct NE, Washington, D.C. 20001 Tel. (202) 507-6398, Fax (301) 498-1301, [email protected],
http://www.nationalcenter/inter.net. For more information about Talking Points
on the Economy: Environment #15 contact Bob Adams at (202) 507-6398 or
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