Protecting Public Lands and Waters
Preserving Shared Natural Resources
The nation’s public lands and waters have faced persistent challenges in recent years, as efforts to preserve and protect nature have run headlong into political pressure to defend destructive exploitation for profit.
In 2010, CPR Member Scholar Alyson Flournoy, joined by former CPR Policy Analyst Margaret Clune Giblin, and Ryan Feinberg, Heather Halter and Christina Storz, published the second of the two Next Generation Initiative documents, The Future of Environmental Protection: The Case for a National Environmental Legacy Act (1.5 meg download), offering a new and far-seeing approach to protecting the nation’s environment.
The National Environmental Legacy Act (NELA) Flournoy and her co-authors propose would identify certain natural resources under federal ownership and control as important, and sometimes finite, environmental resources, and establish resource-specific limits on further depletion, so that future generations would be able to enjoy and use them. So, as the authors write, "recognizing biodiversity as an environmental asset, NELA would address the problem of alarming rates of species endangerment and extinction by seeking to protect species long before they become endangered or threatened, through efforts to protect ecosystems that account for all the factors in an ecosystem that affect species population."
Learn about CPR Member Scholars’ work to protect precious natural resources from destruction and misuse:
- International Treaties. Read Reclaiming Global Environmental Leadership: Why the United States Should Ratify Ten Pending Environmental Treaties, CPR White Paper 1201.
- Adaptive Management. Read the April 2011 CPR White Paper Making Good Use of Adaptive Management, by CPR Member Scholars Holly Doremus, William L. Andreen, Alejandro Camacho, Daniel A. Farber, Robert L. Glicksman, Dale Goble, Bradley C. Karkkainen, Daniel Rohlf, A. Dan Tarlock, and Sandra B. Zellmer, and CPR Executive Director Shana Jones and Policy Analyst Yee Huang. Read the blog post.
- Citizen Access to the Courts. Read "Shutting the Door on Environmental Debate," an op-ed by Member Scholar Robert W. Adler, published in the March 5, 2011 Salt Lake Tribune, on citizen access to the courts in oil and gas leasing disputes.
- Preserving an Environmental Legacy. Read about the proposed National Environmental Legacy Act, or read the full publication, The Future of Environmental Protection: The Case for a National Environmental Legacy Act (1.5 meg download), CPR White Paper 1001.
- Proposed Executive Orders for the Obama Administration. In November 2008, CPR issued a series of proposed Executive Orders for the incoming Obama Administration, including one focused on public lands. The proposal would establish the goal of ecological integrity as the baseline for making public land management decisions, revoke two Bush-era Executive Orders that improperly prioritized the goals of energy development over the statutory goals of sustainable land use, and broaden opportunities for public participation in land management decisions. Read a web article about the proposals, and read the white paper itself, Protecting Public Health and the Environment by the Stroke of a Presidential Pen (3.3 meg download). Or read the news release.
- Blog Entries: A sampling of CPRBlog entries on the issue includes NEPA: Middle-Aged, But Still Vigorous, May 7, 2009 by Holly Doremus; Oil Shale Update: Small Potatoes, March 3, 2009 by Matt Shudtz; The Scalpel or the Hatchet? Applying Common-Sense Planning to Water Management, February 6, 2009 by Margaret Clune Giblin; Bush on Livestock Grazing on Public Lands, January 20, 2009 by Joe Feller; Bush Regulatory Record: Transferring Polluted Water, January 20, 2009 by Holly Doremus; and High Noon for the Last Surviving Land Disposal Law?, December 1, 2008 by Margaret Clune Giblin.
- Water Resources Management Op-Eds: Read "Where Did Our Water Go? Give the Law a Chance," by CPR Member Scholar Mary Jane Angelo and Richard C. Hamann, in the September 23, 2008 Orlando Sentinel. And read Robert W. Adler's August 30, 2008 op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune, "A New Set of Negotiations Needed for Colorado River Compact."
- Water War in the Klamath Basin: The Book. Read about Member Scholars Holly Doremus and A. Dan Tarlock's 2008 book, Water War in the Klamath Basin: Macho Law, Combat Biology, and Dirty Politics, the tale of a bitter water-management dispute pitting environmental and agricultural interests in the midst of a Southern Oregon drought.
- Public Lands Report. Read Squandering Public Resources (671 kb download), by Alyson Flournoy, Margaret Clune Giblin and Matt Shudtz's September 2007 report on the government's failed stewardship of public lands.
- National Forests White Paper. Read Alyson Flournoy, Robert L. Glicksman and Margaret Clune Giblin's June 2005 white paper on the Bush Administration's regulatory sell-out of the national forests (338 kb download). Read the news release.
- A CPR Perspective. CPR Member Scholars have authored articles on related topics, as part of the CPR Perspectives Series. These include Perspectives on Livestock Grazing on Public Lands, Mountaintop Mining, National Forest Management, Wetlands, and Protecting Endangered Species.