&copy Flickr user Larry1732
Farmer's Market
How Texas Can Save the Endangered Species Act

Among the ESA’s many stakeholders, a consensus is forming that the law cannot accomplish its goals without greater reliance on markets. And in Texas, the outlines of just such a market-based approach are coming into focus.

Appeared in: Volume 9, Number 4 | Published on: December 7, 2013
Mario Loyola is president of Loyola Strategies LLC, a public policy consulting firm focused on clients in regulated industries, including the energy industry.
show comments
  • Thirdsyphon

    It’s an interesting idea, but I think there are too many moving parts for this to work in practice. Setting up a “scientifically rigorous system of developing crediting metrics” is easier said than done; and even saying it is a mouthful. For all the author’s well-founded concerns about regulatory overreach, I’ll see him and raise him an equally well-founded concern about regulatory capture. Whatever system is set up, someone somewhere will find a loophole that will allow them to collect massive amounts of money while doing little or nothing to help endangered species, which will drive up the cost of species preservation *and* make the regulations themselves almost impossible to alter, since there will now be a lobby with a vested interest in keeping the regulations just as they are.

    Of course, from a certain point of view, the spiraling expense and inefficiency of such a system is not a bug but a feature; to a cynic, the whole point of this exercise is to force the government to count the cost before it designates another protected species; and the more ruinous and useless that expenditure can be made, so much the better, since it makes it that much less likely that additional designations will be made.

    On principle, there are presumably many people who would prefer to see the [insert absurd-sounding species name here] go extinct than let property owners and industrialists suffer economic harm, or to see workers lose their jobs. This position is not one that I happen to share, but it’s far from indefensible. What I wish is that the supporters of this position would openly argue it, rather than trying to concoct clever-sounding solutions that may well be intended to fail, and thereby trick society into a course of action that will lead to this result without a conscious decision on the part of the electorate.

  • Thirdsyphon

    It’s an interesting idea, but I think there are too many moving parts for this to work in practice. Setting up a “scientifically rigorous system of developing crediting metrics” is easier said than done; and even saying it is a mouthful. For all the author’s well-founded concerns about regulatory overreach, I’ll see him and raise him an equally well-founded concern about regulatory capture. Whatever system is set up, someone somewhere will find a loophole that will allow them to collect massive amounts of money while doing little or nothing to help endangered species, which will drive up the cost of species preservation *and* make the regulations themselves almost impossible to alter, since there will now be a lobby with a vested interest in keeping the regulations just as they are.

    Of course, from a certain point of view, the spiraling expense and inefficiency of such a system is not a bug but a feature; to a cynic, the whole point of this exercise is to force the government to count the cost before it designates another protected species; and the more ruinous and useless that expenditure can be made, so much the better, since it makes it that much less likely that additional designations will be made.

    On principle, there are presumably many people who would prefer to see the [insert absurd-sounding species name here] go extinct than let property owners and industrialists suffer economic harm, or to see workers lose their jobs. This position is not one that I happen to share, but it’s far from indefensible. What I wish is that the supporters of this position would openly argue it, rather than trying to concoct clever-sounding solutions that may well be intended to fail, and thereby trick society into a course of action that will lead to this result without a conscious decision on the part of the electorate.

  • Thirdsyphon

    On a completely unrelated issue, I read today that Kim Jong-un has publicly booted his uncle and long time mentor, Jang Song-thaek, from his position as North Korea’s second-in-command. Jang had long been viewed by Chinese policymakers as Pyongyang’s “adult in the room” with whom they had spent decades cultivating a close working relationship.

    For all the wailing of American neocons over America’s supposedly weak response to China’s push to establish a new ADIZ, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the party whose credibility has suffered the most damage in this affair has been the government of China.

    In the wake of this brazen gesture on the part of what was supposedly their client state, China’s humiliation is now complete. By provoking a pointless symbolic confrontation that it wasn’t ready for, China has gratuitously enclowned itself and squandered its credibility for years to come.

  • Thirdsyphon

    On a completely unrelated issue, I read today that Kim Jong-un has publicly booted his uncle and long time mentor, Jang Song-thaek, from his position as North Korea’s second-in-command. Jang had long been viewed by Chinese policymakers as Pyongyang’s “adult in the room” with whom they had spent decades cultivating a close working relationship.

    For all the wailing of American neocons over America’s supposedly weak response to China’s push to establish a new ADIZ, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the party whose credibility has suffered the most damage in this affair has been the government of China.

    In the wake of this brazen gesture on the part of what was supposedly their client state, China’s humiliation is now complete. By provoking a pointless symbolic confrontation that it wasn’t ready for, China has gratuitously enclowned itself and squandered its credibility for years to come.

  • Corlyss

    The ESA needs to die the kind of natural death the envirothugs seeks to prevent for species that just can’t sustain themselves.

  • Corlyss

    The ESA needs to die the kind of natural death the envirothugs seeks to prevent for species that just can’t sustain themselves. The environmentalists seek to freeze-frame the natural world in the state it was in when they were children, where all good intentions were rewarded with an adult (i.e., someone else) looking after the wounded bird or animal the child had neither the education nor the skill nor the diligence to preserve. They believe in evolution only to the extent that it is a tool they can beat conservatives and people of faith over the head with, but they reeeeeeeealy don’t want to see it in actual operation. Meanwhile, true science discovers more species all the time.

    I was talking with a friend who idolizes Scoop Jackson, the late Wa. state senator that was himself a giant among a dying breed, an old fashioned conservative Democrat and hawk. When she told me that he sponsored the ESA, I screamed in horror. She quickly reassured me that even before he died, he regretted the uses to which the law has been put by envirothugs that dominate policy these days.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2018 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.