December 3, 2013
AFP-Arizona thanks everyone who came to McNary today to see the documentary Wolves in Government Clothing and to talk about the problems with the Endangered Species Act and the wolf reintroduction program. Thanks to Doyle Shamley and David Spady for organizing, to all of the great speakers, and to Supervisor Sylvia Allen, Rep. Jamescita Peshlakai, and the Hon. Steve Titla for attending.
Also, we were very happy with the great turnout at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife hearing in Pinetop today by ranchers and other opponents of Endangered Species Act abuses related to the wolf reintroduction program. Lots of cowboy hats and camo in the crowd — by our reckoning, more than half the crowd were wolf opponents. The text of AFP-Arizona director Tom Jenney’s public comments are pasted below. (Note: public comments were limited to two minutes.)
I‘m Tom Jenney, Arizona Director of Americans for Prosperity. We believe that protection of our natural resources and sustainable economic growth are most likely to be achieved under a system of well-specified, well-protected, and transferrable private property rights in natural resources. A system of private property rights imposes market discipline on the users of resources, because the wealth of property owners is at stake if they make bad decisions. And if property rights are transferable, owners must not only consider their own values, but also what others are willing to pay. Finally, private property owners can be held liable under the tort system for uses of resources that harm other persons or property.
Unfortunately, the federal government has chosen to place a huge portion of Western lands under the management of government bureaucrats. No matter how smart government resource managers may be, they do not have localized knowledge of the incredibly complex interaction of ecological systems with local economies. And no matter how well-intentioned bureaucrats may be, they do not have the incentives to efficiently manage natural resources.
We have seen the failure of federal forest management in the disastrous Rodeo-Chedeski Fire in 2002 and the Wallow Fire in 2011.
Under the Endangered Species Act, government bureaucrats have chosen to impose wolf reintroduction on Western property owners. The bureaucrats who implemented this policy, and the environmental activists who support this policy, do not have their own property at stake. Instead, the costs of wolf reintroduction are borne by taxpayers, by schoolchildren cowering in kid cages, and by ranchers, sheepherders, and other local resource users. Sadly, the bureaucrats and the environmentalists cannot be held liable under the tort system for the damage they cause to local property owners. Fish and Wildlife spends millions of dollars every year on this program, and yet it has almost no funds to compensate the damage this program causes to local property owners.
This policy is not efficient, it’s not fair, and it should be changed. Thank you!