Free Markets

Environmentalists Would Buy the Land They Want To Protect, if The Government Allowed It

"By excluding environmental groups, we get a distorted picture about the value of our natural resources,” says Shawn Regan of the Property and Environment Research Center.


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On balance, government regulation of public land in the Western United States doesn't protect the environment from industry. It protects industry from having to compete in the free market.

"Why can't environmentalists acquire the land that they want to preserve? Often, because it's illegal," explains Shawn Regan, vice president of research at the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC), which is a leading advocacy group in the free market environmentalist movement. He says preservation groups are often willing to compete with industry on a level playing field.

"Increasingly, environmental groups are frustrated with the regulatory approach to environmentalism….They are looking for ways to use markets, to use property rights, to use voluntary exchange, to essentially get what they want, which is preserving natural amenities, conserving wildlife and open space."

"In the case of public lands, we see groups trying to acquire ranchers' grazing permits. We see groups trying to buy federal energy leases to keep the resources in the ground. We even see groups trying to bid for timber leases, but to keep the trees standing rather than harvesting them," Regan explains. But in many cases, rules governing how land must be used limit what environmentalist groups can do.

"Too often, natural resource management is biased toward resource extraction because rules that were created in the 19th century essentially require rights holders to harvest, extract, or graze the resource rather than to conserve it," says Regan. "By excluding environmental groups," Regan says, "we get a distorted picture about the value of our natural resources."

Regan says that in a free market, the highest bidders should win—even if their intention is to leave the land untouched.

"The point is not that resource extraction is bad," explains Regan. "It's not that extracting energy is fundamentally wrong or harvesting timber is fundamentally wrong. We all live in a house that's likely made of wood….But rather, it's that environmental values are real and they are legitimate. We need to find ways to allow for those values to be expressed through markets, and through voluntary exchange."

Produced by Meredith Bragg.

NEXT: George Hotz: From Self-Driving Cars to Robots That Cook and Clean

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  1. Would you have to file an environmental impact statement if you want to leave the land untouched?

    1. 🙂 In California, the answer would be a resounding YES!! Several of them, actually.

      1. Those tall trees are casting too much shade on that derelict laundromat historical site!

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  2. They are looking for ways to use markets, to use property rights, to use voluntary exchange, to essentially get what they want, which is preserving natural amenities, conserving wildlife and open space."

    An underlying cause of the French Revolution was large estates held by the Church and Aristrocracy that were withheld from agricultural production.

    How is this different?

    1. Because the Aristocracy could chop off your head for no particular reason, and the Church could burn you at the stake for reasons only they understood.

      If I buy a piece of land to just keep it intact (or give money to a group that does this), then they can find the correct price to bid based on what the competition is. If Ag use (which I also support) is so valuable, I can only assume it's because the farmer can get more cash for his crops.

      (Full disclosure: I do exactly this each year as part of my voluntary gifts to good causes. Talk is cheap, but cash never lies.)

      1. By the time of the Revolution, the aristocracy had lost most of their powers, and the Church wasn't burning anyone in the 18th century.

      2. The whole point of this activity is to restrict access, increase the price of goods and indirectly starve the poor.

        1. So it's getting rid of big carbon non tesla driving eco hazards... Bonus

        2. No, the point is to establish the true price of the land and associated resources.

          1. Which is good...except government blabbers how they took it to begin with to be good stewards of it on behalf of The People. Is deliberately not using natural resources good stewardship as government policy?

        3. Since my reply apparently got moderated out of existence for having a relevant link in it...

          @Bubba Jones - Yep, and Scott Locklin worote a good take-down a couple of years ago:

          [Even if] the media hyperbole is right and full level 5 autonomous vehicles are “right around the corner” Google also has zero business interest in “disrupting” driving. Google is a tech driven advertising company with a collection of loss leaders. Yet they go after this preposterously difficult, possibly impossible task. Why not disrupt a business they presumably know how to disrupt, like that of the lowly ops engineer? At least this would be good for their bottom line, and it would be a real step forward in “AI” rather than a parlour trick perpetuated by marketing nerds and started by obvious mountebanks.

          From a semiotics point of view, this shows astounding hostility to the types of people who drive cars and trucks for a living. Drivers are … ordinary, usually uneducated, salt of the earth people who have a fairly independent lifestyle and make a decent living. Google overlords must really hate such people, since they’re dumping all this skrilla into ruining their lives for no sane business reason. They will almost certainly fail, but man, why would you try to blow up those people’s lives? If this country really wanted to get rid of driving, or considered it a serious problem that there are too many cars on the road, or thought that people now employed as drivers should do something else, we had a solution to this problem invented in the late 1800s.

      3. But they are not talking about actually purchasing land available for sale.

        This is about land use leases. They want to outbid people in order to prevent productive use of the land.


    2. An underlying cause of the French Revolution was large estates held by the Church and Aristrocracy that were withheld from agricultural production.

      How is this different?
      It isn't. I know a lot of environmentalists who'd contribute to something like this, but they all got their money through government favoritism. Not really free-market.

      1. If we're stuck with a buggy CMS that mangles posts, can we at least have an edit button? Please?

  3. What is the matter with this credulous site?

    Environmentalists want to pay below market rate to block existing use of the land. You can't buy a grazing permit to prevent others from grazing. A permit is permission to do one thing, not control the land as to it and all other things.

    On the other hand, you can buy the land, in fee simple, to exclude others (e.g. ranchers). But that costs (more) money, which environmentalists need to euthanize rescue dogs, jet to conferences to fret about climate change, and plot the destruction of modern civilization because it offends their sensibilities.

    The still-not-destroyed-by-leftist-twits policy bias of the land management agencies is to make productive use of the land. To continue generating the revenues that fund such agencies and other government functions. That's why a grazing permit is much, much cheaper than buying the equivalent land in fee simple, because it enhances the value and production of land still retained by its owner - it's in the government's interest to let ranchers graze for free. The way to actually provide commensurate compensation to the government owner would be for the tree huggers to nut up and buy the land in fee simple AND PAY PROPERTY TAX ON IT.

      1. I did, you evidently did not read the article critically. Or you're as ignorant as you accuse me of being about my comment.

    1. You are wrong on pretty much every point.
      - While I'm sure there are some environmentalists who want to pay below market rate, the article above is explicitly about environmentalists who are willing to pay market rate or even to bid that price up some. In other words, these environmentalists are willing to put their money where their mouths are - but are forbidden from doing so.
      - A land use permit is not merely a permission for you to do X on the land, it is generally an exclusive permission for you and only you to do X - or not do X. It is in fact a permission to control the land with respect to X. Consider a drilling permit. That gives the oil company the sole right to drill there. It does not therefore obligate them to begin drilling immediately. Buying and "banking" reserves is normal.
      - Buying the land (and paying property taxes) is a viable alternative but only when the land is actually on the market. Since the federal government pretty much refuses to sell its land, permits are the only available option. That fact remains true even when I agree with you about the motivations of some environmental activists.

      1. "That gives the oil company the sole right to drill there. It does not therefore obligate them to begin drilling immediately."

        This is actually not true. And of course that is the point that is in contention here. In libertopia, all the land and various rights upon it (mineral, water, air, etc) would be bought and sold as part of a private market. However the government in its infinite wisdom TOOK that land and removed it from the private market- all in the name of environmental protection.

        The purpose of land use permits is to then allow the use of resources despite the acts the government took for environmental protection. For environmentalists to muck with the land use permit process is to give them two bites of the apple- once when (for environmental purposes) the land was appropriated in the first place, and once again when they interfere with the use of the resources.

        1. Is most of the federal land in the west owned for environmental conservation? I thought that for the most part they just kept it after various land grants, treaties and purchases. How much has actually been taken from anyone (except maybe Indians)?
          Not a defense of federal land holdings, but I think it matters to this discussion. I'd say the feds should auction off most of the land they own. If enviros want in, they are welcome to bid with everyone else.

          1. Let me put it this way: When the government wants to offer an easement for land use on federal property, they have to go through numerous steps. They have to follow strict environmental use regulations to justify that there is demand and a need for these permits. All along that process, environmentalists and other NIMBYs have the ability to block these efforts.

            These are the safeguards provided by the government to give environmentalists the ability to "protect" the government land.

            But once those hurdles have been cleared by the land managers and the private entities looking to buy the rights, environmentalists also want to have the ability to jump in there and snipe out the permit with the help of wealthy urbanite donations.

            No thank you. Environmentalists are already part of the reason why this scarcity of land exists and why the costs keep increasing. Giving them this additional weapon is bullshit.

          2. Most of the federal land in the west is simply owned by the feds. The Bureau of Land Management administers it and for the most part, that's that.

            Under federal law, a "reservation" of the land may be made for particular purposes, in which case the federal land becomes more "particularly" federal, think military bases, or tribal reservations. Attempts at reservation are what most of the federal land use disputes you hear about are. Such as the national monument that Obama wanted to make out of... much of Utah... in order to prevent resource extraction.

            Generic BLM federal land is often still used productively by the people who live near it. Grazing, hunting and so on. It's when they make a reservation that all those uses get blocked and you get furious hill people occupying federal buildings in protest.

      2. *and what's wrong with its credulous commentariat

        We are precisely in disagreement about what the market is. You say they should be able to buy a permit for grazing and thereby end grazing on a parcel. I (and the market you ignore) says that permit doesn't include that property right to exclude grazing.

        They're willing to pay for the piddling grazing permit. Which the property owner has incentive to give away for free, since grazing is productive use of the land that doesn't conflict with whatever else it is being used for (and provides tax revenue in this case of government property owner). Hence, its market price is very, very low. This is the price that tree huggers would like to pay.

        They are not willing to pay for the market value of the property right to prevent all grazing. Which would involve owning the land. Because no property owner is going to sell permits to reduce the productive value of their land.

        The tree huggers may buy it outright, I'm in favor of the feds devolving federal lands in the West to the States like they were supposed to 100 years ago. At that point I'm sure California will sell its formerly federal lands to tree hugging morons, so it may become overgrown and then burn their tenements down every few years.

        1. The above should be a reply to Rossami, who said I was wrong on every point and then proceeded to (by bullet):

          (1) miss the substance of my comment about the misrepresentation of what "the market rate" is here by environmentalists and parrotted by this website.
          (2) be completely wrong
          (3) agree with me

    2. There is also the fact that environmental groups are rich. Filthy rich. Since they rake in huge donations and have rock-bottom operating costs (most of their "employees" are volunteers from the idle upper-middle-class), they could literally bid small ranchers out of hearth and home.

  4. Wall Street Journal is reporting 4 marines killed.

    1. I'm sure Joe will be right on it as soon as Susan Rice tells him to be.

      1. I don't think you're going to see Biden for a few days.

        1. can't think of anyone who would think this a bad thing.


    1. Which is the one flaw in the local arrangement around here, privately lands owned by land trusts are not taxed. While conservation land might legitimately bear a lower tax since it does not require school, road, "relief" (welfare) or (as much police and fire), there should still be some tax on it based on the fact that it obviously has sufficient value to someone that they were willing to pony up and buy it.

      1. "Which is the one flaw in the local arrangement around here, privately lands owned by land trusts are not taxed."

        I don't doubt that is true for a lot of places. But those land trusts often preclude virtually any activities which would change the landscape. This is cool. And, yeah, I tend to agree with you, they should probably be taxed, though at a lower rate, since they still receive the benefits of fire and police protection.

      2. There is a very real, government created business here. Let's say you own a giant ranch in colorado. You turn 90% of that ranch into conservation land, where you "graze in environmentally sustainable methods". Then you sell 5 acre plots dotted throughout the ranch, and sell those plots to rich californians. By putting the land into a conservation trust, you get enough tax rebates to offset the revenues you made selling the small plots.

        Now you continue to raise your cattle- which drives your property taxes (Colorado charges property taxes for agricultural land based on the expected revenues that land use would earn). And then you apply for and earn Carbon Sequestration Credits for the 90% conservation trust, which you sell to private companies. Depending on the administration and year, those carbon credit revenues are tax free or tax preferred.

        And bonus, your cows get to shit in the yards of rich californians who think they are ever so enlightened and harmonious with nature in their Work From Home estate.

      3. Where I am there is a "current use" status which does pretty much that. If the land is unimproved or kept in agricultural use you pay a low tax rate. I can see some arguments against it, but I like it. It allows me to own some recreation/wood lot kind of land very cheaply.

  6. "Increasingly, environmental groups are frustrated with the regulatory approach to environmentalism….They are looking for ways to use markets, to use property rights, to use voluntary exchange, to essentially get what they want, which is preserving natural amenities, conserving wildlife and open space."

    Reminds me of when the Nature Conservancy was buying land in the name of preservation, then selling drilling rights on them.

  7. This article/video conflates two different things. 1) Government selling land to environmentalists/others and 2) government leasing extraction rights to environmentalists/others.

    As a libertarian, nothing would make me happier than to see the government privatize the significant swaths of land that they have appropriated from americans. But to insist that- having taken those lands off the private market- the government also allow environmentalists to keep those resources from being extracted? That is wrong. The whole reason they were appropriated in the first place was environmental protection. It's stupid, but here we are. The purpose of the resource leases is to allow the appropriate consumption of those resources since private entities can't get at the resources otherwise.

    Trying to change laws so that environmentalists (who already have numerous advantages in other government laws) can block resource extraction on government lands is a step back. We should instead be focused on privatizing this land overall.

    1. "Trying to change laws so that environmentalists (who already have numerous advantages in other government laws) can block resource extraction on government lands is a step back. We should instead be focused on privatizing this land overall."

      If Reason was a libertarian magazine, this would have been the jist of the article.

      I'm fine with environmental groups actually buying millions of acres are turning them into the private equivalent of National Parks. I'd love to see some sort of experimental attempt at Pliestocene rewilding too.

      1. Just for grins, I once took a quick dive into the economics of two national parks (Yellowstone and Yosemite) and two city parks. Please pardon my ignorance about government budgets -- I could not tell if the budgets included entrance fees, and I assume other things were just as opaque. This was for the 2012 budget. because I don't know those things, I tabulated both $/visitor and employee hours/visitor.

        The National Park Service in 2012 had 84M acres and 287M visitors, 21K full time equivalent employees, and a budget of $2.25B, $8 and 9 employee minutes per visitor, $109K per employee, and $26 per acre. California was $344M with 85M visitors, $4 per visitor, no acerage reported.

        Yosemite is 760K acres and in 2012 had 3.9M visitors, 689 full time equivalent employees, and a budget of $29M, or $8 and 21 employee minutes per visitor, $42K per employee, and $38 per acre.

        Yellowstone is 2.2M acres and in 2012 had 3.4M visitors, 557 full time equivalent employees, and a budget of $35M, or $10 and 19 employee minutes per visitor, $63K per employee, and $15 per acre.

        Central Park in New York City has a $37.5M budget and 35M visitors. Golden Gate Park in San Francisco has a $10M budget and 13M visitors. Both are a buck a visit.

        The storal of the mory is that these are entirely reasonable ticket prices. Except, of course, all the proggies who hate markets.

        1. Our local Citizens For Conservation group has all manner of volunteers (myself among them) and regularly gets private property donated to them. No fees for any of it. But, of course, they don't go around insisting that they have a ownership rights a priori to any current leaseholders and put environmental restrictions on other private property transactions. Forest Preserve District of Cook County, OTOH, not so much.

        2. National parks are a public service, not a business.

          1. Which part of the Constitution authorizes the Federal government to own and run them as either one?

    2. They weren't appropriated. At least not from the states/private parties (Indians, however . . .)

      These are lands claimed by the Federal government from before these areas were states.

      These are lands not turned over to the states upon statehood. Kept not for environmental reasons but as a source of revenue for the federal government - who noticed they had given all the land in the east to the states and so didn't have any more out there.

      1. So, then, the lands should be turned over to the states. Leasing them to environmentalist groups only perpetuates the Federal ownership of the land.

        And, as Overt (and Jefferson's Ghost) rightly points out, these environmentalist groups aren't looking to actually buy the land for everyone's benefit as much as destroy a profit stream and hector wrong-thinkers... which they rather openly imply in their last paragraph.

        The ranchers and oil drillers aren't practicing any particular religion. Beef or oil markets dry up and they go away.

        1. Some are looking to destroy a profit stream and hector wrongthinkers, but not all. There are a few of us (see above) who believe that ownership = control, and see a value in purchasing land for its own value. Heck, I'm happy to have the general public enjoy it too, so long as they don't burn it down, use it for a trash dump, or try to homestead it. But if the Feds or State can make more cash by leasing production rights, then I haven't paid enough for it.

          1. see a value in purchasing land for its own value.

            Those aren't the conditions for the lease that you your obnoxious hectoring cohort established. Take it up with them. Until then, your actions are between inadvertently pulling the carpet out from under the current tenants and bad faith.

        2. The feds aren't giving up the land. That's done. We're talking about the government refusing some groups from participating in their auctions.

          1. We’re talking about the government refusing some groups from participating in their auctions.

            Refusing some groups from *further* participating in their auctions. If you can even call having a say in the price of the opening bid and then crying about the fact that you can't participate in the bidding at the price you value the item for an acutions.

        3. If the profit stream is so valuable - then buy the land and make money off of it.

          1. Holy fuck are you retarded. You can't buy the land because it's protected for environmental/conservation reasons. The leases exists because keeping everyone off the land is less lucrative than letting cattle roam on it.

        4. Doesn't the federal government owe somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 trillion dollars? (close, only 28.7 trillion right now)

          Wouldn't selling off all this land help reduce that?

          Can't Biden just tell Harris to "Make it so!"?

          1. Wouldn’t selling off all this land help reduce that?

            Yup. You think the people who value the land for no reason are going to put up a higher bid than ranchers or oil companies? If they've got all this money from doing nothing with land, why aren't they buying privately-held land and protecting that rather than further extorting/distorting the market for this land?

            1. Government is only interested in new revenue if it can be spent, or increase general spending as justification for a larger amount of borrowing.

              In short, they would only do it to spend the money immediately, not reduce the current borrowing.

  8. How is it beneficial to make us poorer?

    1. Because the poorer we can make you, the more government benefits you will be eligible for?

  9. Here is a model for conserving land in private hands:

    "Ducks Unlimited is North America’s third largest land trust with more than 439,000 acres under permanent protection and is accredited by the Land Trust Alliance’s Accreditation Commission to uphold standards and practices to ensure the permanence of our conservation work.",to%20ensure%20the%20permanence%20of%20our%20conservation%20work.

    1. And because Ducks Unlimited respects and works with farmers, rather than hectoring and badgering them, they turn many of them into environmentalists too. I know a lot of farmers who've become devoted protectors of the wetlands on their properties.

      1. Talked with a cranberry farmer (technically he "encroaches on wetlands" by the nature of his work) who gave me an earful about the conservation nazis in the town harassing him about how he was caring for "their" land. His whole punchline was to the effect 'of course I'm taking care of it, if I don't care for it right, then I don't get good production'. I've never seen fertilizer or pesticides used, he just messes with the water level (wet picking, and then winter protection) - and that is what pisses the conservation people off. It's been "sustainable" for over a century, I suspect there is no change coming unless the market for his product changes.

      2. There is large ranch in the Northern CA foothills which, years ago, since ranching was no longer profitable, decided to turn his land, basically, into his version environmental paradise. I had a chance to visit there some years ago, the only real change from its ranching days was the installation of a large cafeteria/meeting building to accommodate the crowds, including lots of students, which come to visit to see, and learn (all for a fee, of course).

        I imagine the place is quite a shock for many city-dwellers: if you dine on the deck, the foxes will come right up to you and beg for handouts (as a for instance). The feral pigs, even sows with their piglets, seem totally oblivious to standers-by.

        The ranch is involved in substantial on-the-ground research projects including everything from anti-erosion efforts to invasive vegetation control. He also hosts "ground-squirrel safaris" which attract a sizeable number of hunters, though "shooters" might be a more appropriate description.

        1. "The feral pigs, even sows with their piglets, seem totally oblivious to standers-by."

          Huh...not a very good conservationist then. Feral pigs are an invasive species in CA. He would do well to sell hunting rights for the animals. In fact, in California because it is so difficult to hunt on state/federal lands, most of the pigs are taken on private land. It went from being a "Sure kill off as many of those bastards as you can, just take them off my property and close the gate" to "You can hunt on this property for $1000 per day".

          But in general, this is another point on the side of "The way to improve a country's environment is to make it rich."

          1. "Huh…not a very good conservationist then."

            He does allow hunting of pigs. I meant to mention that. But his "season" is set when he chooses (CA has no season or bag limits on pigs, generally). He is not an "environmentalist" in the extreme sense, meaning a "preservationist." His take on feral pigs, as on some "non-native" plants (I actually questioned him on that), was that any animal or plant that has been here for hundreds of years has become part of the environment. His system seemed to be working, I spotted no damage I could blame on wild pigs (unlike some other places I have been).

            A Nature Conservancy partnership I worked with had a really serious pig problem on their 40,000 acres of ranch land. Their solution was to hire a commercial firm, turn the former ranch-house into a hunting lodge, complete with some really nice stuffed trophy animals, advertise it, and attract as many hunters as possible. It is a combination nature preserve, working cattle ranch, and hosts all kinds of classes and field trips for local schools. The secret? No State government involvement needed. The State had originally had control over the land, but decided they didn't want anything to do with it (which is good, since it would have taken them twenty years to get anything done), so they leased it to the Conservancy, who developed the partnership with the local schools and other ranchers, and the aforementioned sportsman organization.

    2. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation does this for preserving migration paths and grazing grounds for elk. They also have led numerous conservation efforts to improve federal lands for elk use (for example, removing literal millions of miles of loose electrical/telegraph/telephone wire just strewn about in these lands, which then snag on antlers and kill elk).

  10. Big business can afford better lobbyists to create laws which are favorable to it. I'm shocked. Shocked.

  11. We need to find ways to allow for those values to be expressed through markets, and through voluntary exchange.

    Pretty elaborate tap dance to effectively say "We need to force people to support our (religious) values."

    1. So we're libertarians against markets now?

      1. The land is owned by the government and the permits are issued by the government. How is that a free market?

        Moreover, going forward, the land will still be owned by the government and activities forbidden by private environmentalist groups will be forbidden (unlike ranchers and drillers who don't really care as long as you aren't killing the cows or preventing them from drilling). How is that a free market?

        1. If you guys read the article - the issue is that the government prevents certain groups from bidding on permits or buying.

          1. Let em bid on it, then watch them get outbid by ranchers, or developers or those who want the mineral rights.

            Then they'll scream bloody murder say it wasn't fair and nobody will get title to it.

            There's no free market here esp when you're dealing with bureau of land management

        2. It's not a free market, but you seem to be arguing for an even less free market.
          Maybe environmentalism is a wacky quasi-religion. But if they are willing to put up the money, I see no reason they shouldn't be able to do their thing.

          1. The land isn't for sale outright because it's being held for environmental/preservation rights.

            The government can't freely lease the land to anyone and has use restrictions imposed on the leases because of environmental/conservation concerns.

            It's a heckler's veto, mott-and-bailey.

            1. OK, then get rid of that stuff and open up the auctions to anyone who wants the land for any reason.

              1. I agree. That's the point. These people aren't petitioning to get the land open up for auction/purchase. They're specifically saying they should be able to bid in the auction that they necessitate and oversee by proxy.

            2. It’s a heckler’s veto, mott-and-bailey.

              It's the same grift as the gay marriage debacle. We aren't going to end up with a more liberal definition of marriage that even polygamists and single people can engage in.

              They aren't going to open the bidding up to every last American citizen and we're going to end up with a special class of environmentalist bidder who can bid on the leases and, even if they lose, continue to stipulate how loggers, ranchers, and drillers can use the land (like they already do).

    2. Seems you read a different article than the rest of us.

      1. I read exactly what they wrote. They want to buy permits predicated on profit so they can destroy the profit. They're lamenting their ability to do so because the vast majority of people don't value land they don't live on, use, or get oil/food from secondhand.

        If Christians wanted to buy leases to the land so that they could force everyone who came onto the land to practice Christianity, would libertarians be cheering the (re)union of Church and State?

        1. So Christians should be excluded from the market because they might do something with the land you do not like?

          1. You didn't answer my question. If Christians wanted to lease federal land from the government so that they could spread Christian values, would you support it?

            I already said it's not a free market.

    3. It's not very hard to find ways. Auctions have been around forever.

  12. What about the millions of average Joe's like me who shoot in the woods (which is legal)? Are they going to let us, I think not? Where are we to go now, ranges are for tards and city dwellers?

    1. Are the enviros going to lease all of the woods?
      I've got plenty of places to shoot on my own land and other private land I have permission to use, as well as various federal and state lands that are not going to be leased to anyone.

      1. How do you know those federal and state lands aren't going to be leased to anyone? More importantly, *why* aren't they going to be leased to anyone?

        1. Because they are relatively small parcels with specific purposes like flood control dams.
          I guess I should add "anytime soon".

          1. So then, should the environmentalists, if they wanted to lease the property for no other reason than to destroy the dams 'allow them to return to their natural state', be allowed to bid on equal footing with the people who live/farm in the floodplane below the dams?

    2. First there is nothing to say that environmentalist will not allow hunting on land they are leasing. They may or may not. Most of the hunters I know are environmentalist and realize that by maintaining habitat you increase the likely hood of a thriving stock to hunt.

      1. Most of the hunters I know are environmentalist and realize that by maintaining habitat you increase the likely hood of a thriving stock to hunt.

        Most of the farmers I know are hunters and conservationists and know far better than most environmentalists what kind of work it takes to raise thriving stock. These environmentalists don't want those people in control of the land.

  13. "Too often, natural resource management is biased toward resource extraction because rules that were created in the 19th century essentially require rights holders to harvest, extract, or graze the resource rather than to conserve it,"

    I have no doubt it's more complicated than I interpret this to be... so why don't environmentalists harvest, extract or graze said lands, but just do a really poor job of it. Do I have to think of everything?

    1. Because it's a sin and they need people to believe.

      As has been said by plenty of people on both sides, there are thousands, if not millions, of farmers setting aside parcels of their own land for conservation. There are thousands, if not millions, of private conservation volunteers maintaining privately donated/acquired land. These people are the only ones insisting they have a right to lease the land out from under ranchers after their obstructionist ideology prevented the land from being sold to ranchers in the first place.

  14. Environmentalists don't want to buy the land, and even if some of them do what makes anyone think they'll pay property taxes in perpetuity on land that makes zero income?

    Oh, I know! They'll lobby for special dispensation and tax breaks!

    Also the overlap between environmentalists and straight up communists is nearly 1:1, so really I question if this is just another way for them to kill capitalism since that's the true goal of most environmentalists.

    Not that I think it's necessarily a great idea to restrict them from buying these lands, since ultimately they'll almost definitely lose money and eventually have to give up the land to the bank anyway. Land is a continuing cost, not a fire and forget purchase.

    1. Huh? People who care about the environment are communists? Do you even know what communism is?

      Stop posting dumb shit

    2. They’ll lobby for special dispensation and tax breaks!
      Land is a continuing cost, not a fire and forget purchase.

      They'll probably lobby for restricting some core resource that pretty much every business and industry needs to survive... like a fuel or a carbon tax.

      They'll probably lobby for tax breaks if they develop the land responsibly and sustainably, like with wind turbines and solar panels.

  15. how in this time of intersectionality can the environmentalists not find a cry of "discrimination!"?

    1. You mean the answer to that question isn't self-evident? I think the *instant* that argument is made, we'll find out exactly how many people are on these organizations' payroll and exactly what their racial makeup is and I don't think that ends well for these organizations.

      1. absolutely. but one of the interesting developments of these times is the perpetual birth of new victim classes

  16. There is a word for rancher who want the government to provide them cheap grazing, for timber harvester that think the government should provide them cheap trees and drillers that want cheap access to minerals, they are called socialist. Let the market rule.

    1. First, it's not cheap. Just ask TC Energy about the Keystone XL pipeline.

      Second, they would own the land outright if not for environmentally motivated government agencies.

      Third, I don't think profitable rancherd, loggers, and drillers vs. people who whine about how people don't value their lack of product enough is going to turn out the way you think it is in the free market.

  17. What kind of communist thug even thinks that pristine, unimproved land can be owned?

  18. These laws that prevent environmentalists from buying land or mineral rights or whatnot are basically just heavy government subsidies for industries that don’t need them

  19. Ron Bailey has repeatedly torn off the mask and obliquely revealed preferences on this issue. He doesn't want land belonging to ranchers who use it for ungulate grazing. He wants them put out of business so that it can be returned to "nature" and restored to the way it was before the ranchers moved in... with ungulates grazing on it. He repeatedly talks about it when hyping meat substitutes like it's a foregone conclusion that once the demand for meat is gone, Gaia will have won. Rather overtly, he doesn't care what happens to the land as long as the ranchers who own it aren't in charge of it.

    Moreover, his returned to "nature" position implies that he doesn't want mini-malls, schools, subdivisions, server farms, assembly plants, theme parks, game preserves, baseball diamonds, etc., etc., etc. built on it. It's plainly anti-capitalist and it would be one thing if we were talking about fair-purchase, but we aren't talking about that specifically for this latter reason. Fair purchase would mean these environmentalists would have to compete with every last part of Western Civilization that they not-so-obliquely hate. They don't want that. This group is literally saying "You value your homes, cars, offices, etc. too much. We need these leases so we can convince you to value them less."

    It's the same old watermelon song and dance, "We don't care what happens to the property as long as *you* don't own it."

  20. What the feds are leasing is the right to extract a particular resource for a limited time. The land, with all of its resources are not sold.
    So a paradox evolves:
    -if an energy company buys a time limited license to extract oil, and they do so, then the government gets to sell the license only once, as once the oil is gone, its gone.
    -but if a conservation group buys a license to extract oil for a time limited period (same terms being offered), then at the end of that time period the value of the next license to drill still exists. The government may then sell the license again at full value.

  21. But the government isn’t necessarily selling resources to the highest bidder. It is seeking contractors to perform services at the lowest cost. So the Forest Service might design a timber sale to remove windfall trees that are blocking a recreational trail, or trees that are infested with insects that are threatening the service.

    They aren’t “selling the trees” to a logging company. They are contracting with the logging company for a service, and letting them keep the trees as part of the deal.

    So a company that comes in and says oh! I’ll perform that multi-million dollar service for five dollars isn’t really responsive to the bid.

    Finally I call bullshit on one point. Places like the Nature Conservancy regularly buy large swaths of land. But they don’t preserve it. They typically turn around and sell it to the feds, make money, and take it out of economic production.

    1. "...and take it out of economic production."?? How do you know the govt. won't offer a lease?
      If I own a parcel I should be able to do whatever the hell I want with it. But I can't own property. No govt. on earth allows private R.E. It is leased. The "rent" is called "property tax" and still the use is regulated. Permission and permit fees apply.

  22. Is their a Reason headline that is not somehow in some way a lie?

  23. Regan (a libertarian?) says that in a free market..."? No free market exists anywhere. That is only possible where an authoritarian govt. doesn't exist. That's nowhere. Therefore, we have to abolish the monster first, then we can live a civil life, a life free from institutionalized coercion and the corruption that always goes with it.

  24. There are other factors not touched upon here. Loggers cut trees, the ultimate product is typically taxed. Their employees earn income which is typically taxed. Those employees usually buy shit which is typically taxed. In short the lease should encompass the difference in overall loss given the different utilization to the governing body. Likewise, it should also reflect the re-harvest rate on the off chance that it actually is 100 years.

    I'd also note that the video conflates 'conservation' with 'preservation'. These are two very different terms with considerably different meanings.

  25. What taxable income will the environmentalist generate off the property once leased? Obtaining the lease is just the first step in market economics. Counties and states want tax revenue made from the leased property. Leaving it just sit there isn't making them anymore money than the lease sale. Mining and agriculture can generate additional millions from tax revenue. So in fact the environmentalists haven't generated the top dollar amount the property is worth.

  26. "Regan says that in a free market, the highest bidders should win—even if their intention is to leave the land untouched."

    Amazing how these asshats are all in favor of the "free market" when it is to their benefit.

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