Should property rights be taken seriously?

Over on PLF’S Liberty Blog, I have a post on how radical environmentalists answer that question wrong and, as a result, shutdown much needed debate about Endangered Species Act reform. I also discussed this problem in a recent op-ed in The Hill.

Radicals’ knee-jerk rejection of property rights is unfortunate. You can’t have environmental protection without secure property rights. If you look around the world, countries with insecure property rights have dirtier environments but those who protect property rights, like much of the West, also achieve far better environmental outcomes.

Protecting species is no different. Where property owners have an incentive to protect and recover rare species, they do. Where they don’t, they don’t. Unfortunately, the Endangered Species Act gets the incentives exactly backwards. It punishes property owners who maintain habitat on their property and doesn’t provide encouragement for voluntary conservation activities.

We desperately need reform that takes property rights seriously—a libertarian environmentalist approach to species protection. Both people and species have a lot to gain from that reform. Unfortunately, special interests who benefit from the status quo almost invariably shut down the possibility for that debate.

You can read more over on the PLF Liberty Blog.

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