March 11, 2015 Print

On March 2, Terry Anderson and Donald Leal of the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) presented their new book, Free Market Environmentalism for the Next Generation, at a well-attended event hosted by the Hoover Institution at its Washington, D.C., office. The book updates their original Free Market Environmentalism, which won Atlas Network's Fisher Prize in 1992 and was widely translated into other languages by Atlas Network partners. The book explains how free markets promote environmental solutions for problems including alternative energy sources, rehabilitating fisheries, improving clean water efforts, and setting forth new horizons for “enviropreneurs.”

The Hoover Institution panel included remarks by Chip Mellor, president and announced successor to the chair of the Institute for Justice; Kimberly Strassel, columnist for the Wall Street Journal; and Kameran Onley, director of U.S. marine policy for the Nature Conservatory. Panelists testified about how PERC's long-term work has transformed policy discussions about the environment, injecting the vocabulary of Friedrich Hayek, Ronald Coase, Elinor Ostrom, and James Buchanan, despite the fact that conventional wisdom once considered their ideas irrelevant. The new book showcases the contributions of a younger generation of scholars with chapters written by the likes of Katy Hansen, Shawn Regan, and PERC executive director Reed Watson. 

The following day, on March 3, PERC released a new study analyzing land management in the western United States, where nearly half of the land is owned by the federal government. In a comparison between state and federal management, the study finds that although states “earn an average of $14.51 for every dollar spent on state trust land management,” federal land management agencies “generate only 73 cents in return for every dollar spent.”

The study explains that “federal land agencies face overlapping and conflicting regulations and often lack a clear mandate,” while states “have a fiduciary responsibility to generate revenues from state trust lands,” so decentralizing management to the states would leverage this incentive to manage land effectively.

Learn more about Free Market Environmentalism for the Next Generation.

Read “Divided Lands: State vs. Federal Management in the West.”