Conservation

Taking politics out of climate change

From Nova NEXT: Many liberals haven’t recognized the importance of getting conservatives on board, says Josiah Neeley, energy policy director for R Street Institute, a nonpartisan think tank that …

Trump was right: There is no drought

Donald Trump might not have gotten all the details right when he declared in Fresno in May that California isn’t really suffering from drought, but his basic point …

Moorlach wants to take pension reform back to the future

There isn’t anything fundamentally significant about 1990, from an ecological standpoint. Nonetheless, California officials long ago set that year as the benchmark against which greenhouse-gas-emissions reductions are judged …

Scientists rebuke Coastal Commission over desalination

The Coastal Commission’s stated concern that a proposed Huntington Beach desalination plant’s intake pipes pose a threat to small and microscopic plankton has been rebutted in a letter …

Desalination foes putting tiny critters above people

It’s getting increasingly difficult to exaggerate the degree to which some environmental activists and bureaucrats have placed the needs of California’s critters above the needs of its growing …

Subsidizing Disaster: As seas rise, why is government promoting coastal development?

Sometimes it seems like everything is underwater. In Galveston, Texas, sea levels have risen by more than a foot since 1983. So-called “superstorms” like Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina …

Fixing what ails the Endangered Species Act

A recent tweak to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is sparking considerable backlash from environmentalists, with prominent groups accusing the Obama administration of weakening the landmark legislation. The controversy …

How limits on Hawaiian deep-sea mining could hurt the solar-energy market

In a bid to shore up his eco-legacy, President Barack Obama announced the expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine Monument. The protected area, first created by President George W. …

Coastal Commission abuse smacked down by OC court

During a 1997 speech to the American Planning Association in Monterey, Peter Douglas, the longtime executive director of the California Coastal Commission and main author of the 1972 …

Great Park travails show the travesty of politics

One of the great fallacies of our modern world is the idea that development decisions should largely be made through politics and public input. That way all the …

A conservative approach to environmental principles

The lyrics of the classic hymn “America the Beautiful” – written by the poet Katharine Lee Bates during an 1893 trip to Pike’s Peak – testify to the …

Parks in Disarray: An allegory for California

Many of us who stay in California do so, in part, because of its beauty. As friends and neighbors plot moves to lower-tax, lower-regulation and higher-sanity places, such as …

Al Gore’s climate gestapo seeks to punish political dissent

AG's United for Clean Power should embrace the more appropriate moniker, "Climate Gestapo." The coalition assembled by former Vice President Al Gore and 17 state attorneys general appears set to …

R Street comments to FEMA on proposed ‘disaster deductible’

The R Street Institute thanks the administration for the opportunity to comment on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's proposed reforms to the federal disaster-declaration process. We welcome the …

Would a President Trump make a deal on climate?

What would energy policy look like under a Donald Trump presidency? It’s a question worth considering. While the race to pick a Republican presidential nominee remains undecided, the …

A column for the politically stranded conservative

These days, I feel like a politically stranded conservative, and I know I'm not alone. I could blame it on one presidential candidate or another, but it's more …

Lehrer talks free-market environmentalism with The Energy Gang

R Street President Eli Lehrer sat down recently with Greentech Media's The Energy Gang podcast to discuss the institute's work on carbon pricing, the ongoing market transition to distributed sources …

5 environmental topics a new GOP working group should tackle

At what would prove to be the final presidential primary debate in which he'd participate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was asked to respond to Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado’s …

Bureaucrats are remaking the energy economy, not necessarily for the better

The Obama administration is determined to transform the energy economy in its last year in office, and now the White House is calling in reinforcements from our neighbors …

Filtering out bad solutions to Flint water crisis

At what was already the umpteenth Democratic presidential debate – March 6 in Flint, Michigan – Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders both vowed to use government muscle …

Texas and the RESTORE Act: A progress report

As we approach the sixth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which is coming up on April 20, states along the Gulf Coast continue to deal with …

Insurance markets in environmental regulation

“The tort system will take care of it” long has been the go-to response of classical liberals and libertarians when asked how a “free market” will mitigate harmful …

Congress can, and should, check the EPA’s power grab

The Clean Power Plan – the Obama administration’s policy to reduce emissions from the nation’s power plants – has a whole host of problems that have been discussed …

How tort reform helped crack down on polluters

In the war against environmental degradation, politicians and pundits all-too-often rally behind grand initiatives with colorful acronyms. But what if large reductions in toxic releases could be achieved …

Why scientists shouldn’t make laws

A century from now, the great evolutionary biologist, paleontologist, and historian of science Stephen Jay Gould may be best-remembered for his 1997 essay “Nonoverlapping Magisteria.” In it, Gould argues …

Greens tangled in the Evergreen State’s political thicket

Washington state's environmental community continues to fail to escape the tangle of its own political allegiances, even when it comes to addressing a crisis that, by its own …

Understanding the GOP’s civil war over off-the-grid energy

If politics makes for strange bedfellows, few issues make for more peculiar sleeping arrangements than that of distributed energy. There aren’t many others that put former Republican congressman …

No, you decide

It's been half a decade since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which had been drilling the BP-owned Macondo Prospect, suffered a catastrophic blowout. Over 87 days between April …

DC Circuit Court refuses to halt EPA’s carbon rule

If you thought the courts were coming to the rescue to stop President Barack Obama's greenhouse gas restrictions, think again. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. …

The split screen

The headline for a New York Times piece by Peter Baker this week used the metaphor of a split screen, contrasting President Obama’s State of the Union address …

SmarterSafer reform priorities for the National Flood Insurance Program

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is up for reauthorization in 2017, and the SmarterSafer coalition believes the program should be reauthorized and reformed to ensure it is …

The EPA’s illegal propaganda

The Environmental Protection Agency misused tax dollars in the service of public propaganda, according to a legal opinion just handed down by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The …

Comments to U.S. Justice Department on BP spill consent decree

On Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a final settlement with BP stemming from its role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon/Macondo Well oil spill. …

The future is in the futures markets: an interview with Richard Sandor

Richard Sandor has a relatively painless solution to climate change. It relies on the financial markets, not onerous regulation. It even has a track record. He talked to …

Letter to congressional leadership on federal flood standards

Dear Speaker Ryan, Leader Pelosi, Leader McConnell, and Leader Reid: SmarterSafer, a coalition of environmental organizations, taxpayer advocates, insurance representatives, housing organizations and mitigation experts that advocates for environmentally …

No matter what the kids say these days, the sky is not the sea

A Washington state court has found that navigable waterways are linked to the planet’s atmosphere to such a great degree that the law governing one must apply to …

How Texas can get more time on EPA rules

Last Friday, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency formally published its Clean Power Plan, a set of regulations requiring a 32 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from American …

Speak now or forever hold your peace on Deepwater Horizon oil spill

By now, it's no secret that many coastal residents aren't happy with the proposed settlement between BP, the federal government and the five Gulf Coast states. They have …

‘Jersey Smart’ is better than ‘Jersey Strong’

Earlier this week, I covered South Carolina's "1,000-year storm," questioning whether we can actually say with any kind of certainty that such events are, in fact, all that …

Poll: Clean-energy issues pretty popular among conservative base

Some new findings on how conservative voters think about energy issues from a bevvy of top-tier GOP pollsters ought to be required reading for the eventual Republican presidential …

Neeley letter to GCERC on Texas Funded Priorities List

The R Street Institute is encouraged by the inclusion within the initial Funded Priorities List (FPL) released by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) of the six …

Emissions bill failed at capitol for a reason

For a Sacramento administration unaccustomed to failure, the end of the state’s legislative session had an air of unique disappointment. An effort backed by Governor Jerry Brown and …

Camara letter to GCERC on Florida Funded Priorities List

The R Street Institute is encouraged by the proposed projects contained within Florida's initial Funded Priorities List (FPL) released by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (council). Florida's coast …

Smith letter to GCERC on Alabama Funded Priorities List

The R Street Institute is encouraged by the eight Alabama-focused projects contained within the initial Funded Priorities List (FPL) released by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (council). …

What the GOP contenders got right about climate change

The marathon second Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley California will be remembered for many revelations: Jeb Bush smoked pot 40 years ago …

Letter to National Park Service on e-cigarette policy

This note is in response to the National Park Service news release dated Sept. 14, 2015, about subjecting electronic cigarettes to the same rules imposed on combustible tobacco …

The green side of fracking

Originally patented in 1949, hydraulic fracturing – known colloquially as "fracking" – is a process to recover oil and gas from shale rock. In the fracking process, water, …

The EPA’s propaganda machine

A little over a century ago, U.S. Rep. Frederick Gillett, R-Mass., read something in The New York Times that vexed him. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Bureau of …

Using the Clean Power Plan’s carbon fee option to offset state taxes

Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the final version of its Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units. Known colloquially …

When it comes to EPA standards, California has a gas problem

California's reaction to the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan has been a collective mix of self-congratulation and confidence in the state's ability to comply with the rule's demands. …

An EPA-inspired muscle car renaissance

USA Today recently proclaimed "the golden age of muscle cars is now." Based upon sales numbers of large-displacement and high-power motors, it's hard to say they're wrong. New automotive …

EPA causes environmental disaster in Colorado

The Environmental Protection Agency often justifies its own existence by noting that corporations – who see profit as their goal, rather than environmental protection – are ill-equipped (or …

Drought or no drought, Texas must prepare for water future

After years of enduring one of the fiercest droughts on record, Texas officially became completely drought free in July. Texas’ no drought status didn’t last long; on Aug. 3 …

R Street Institute disappointed by President Obama’s energy plan

WASHINGTON (Aug. 3, 2015) – The R Street Institute expressed disappointment at the energy plan released today by President Barack Obama, noting both the increased costs and unworkable …

Green Scissors Coalition letter to former Gov. Jeb Bush

Dear Gov. Bush: The Green Scissors Coalition, made up of environmental, taxpayer and free-market groups dedicated to eliminating wasteful spending that harms the environment, applauds your recent comment that …

GMOs help fight climate change, but will anyone care?

Last Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reported on a new study that ties together two highly charged issues in the ongoing political battles over science: genetically modified organisms …

SCOTUS’ mercury decision probably won’t end EPA overreach

Conservatives have spent the past month rejoicing over the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency failed to appropriately account for industry costs when deciding to …

There’s no good reason to delay conservation compliance

Even as the U.S. Department of Agriculture was reporting a record 98.2 percent of farmers and ranchers have met new "conservation compliance" guidelines required to qualify for federally …

Tax pollution, not profits: a reply to Rep. John Delaney

The carbon tax is an elegant mechanism for imposing a price on carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector, especially when compared to the alternatives. The patchwork of federal …

Neeley talks climate change at EarthDay Texas

R Street Texas Director Josiah Neeley sat down with Michael Quirke, executive director of the Climate Change National Forum, at the recent EarthDay Texas in Dallas to discuss …

How conservatives should deal with climate change

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery Climate of Confusion: How Should Conservatives Think About Climate Change? Co-Hosted by The R Street Institute and National Affairs The Rayburn Building Washington, D.C. July 6, 2015 In 1980, …

Why did the pope condemn carbon credits?

Last month, Pope Francis released Laudato Si, a papal encyclical devoted to environmental issues. The document combines reflections on environmental ethics from a religious perspective with background descriptions …

Seven questions for how states will use the BP oil spill money

Today, the federal government and the five Gulf Coast states have reached an $18.7 billion settlement agreement with BP plc for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill that …

After Supreme Court’s mercury decision, what now for environmental law?

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Michigan v. EPA will force the Environmental Protection Agency to reevaluate its recently promulgated rules governing mercury emissions by coal-fired power plants. …

R Street RESTORE Act Scorecard

State and local officials charged with selecting and funding projects under the RESTORE Act must carefully prioritize. Toward that end, the R Street Institute has created a scorecard …

The moral case for fossil fuel taxes

One of the downsides of working in policy is that you end up hearing the same arguments over and over again. So I was excited to read Oren …

The GOP needs its own plan for climate change

The Obama administration’s ongoing campaign to regulate climate-change causing pollutants under the Clean Air Act deserves all of the withering criticism it has gotten from the political right. …

Let’s listen to the pope on climate

The Syllabus of Errors, issued in 1864 under the auspices of Pope Pius IX, famously ends by condemning the proposition that: The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile …

Lehrer talks climate change and insurance on the Weather Channel

On the Weather Channel recently, R Street President Eli Lehrer explained the most straightforward reason why those who believe in a free market ought to accept the reality …

It’s time to raise the oil spill liability cap

Santa Barbara County is the latest seaside community to watch its coastline dirtied by an all-too-recognizable black sludge. Early estimates project that more than 100,000 gallons of oil …

On Alabama’s coast, preserve the environment or protect the economy?

Would you rather preserve the environment or protect the economy? What if I told you that, right here in Alabama, we're coming up with creative solutions that benefit both …

R Street commends Gov. Scott for signing coastal preservation bill

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (June 3, 2015) – The R Street Institute today congratulated Florida Gov. Rick Scott for signing H.B. 715, legislation that clarifies provisions of a key coastal preservation …

The federal government is looking to control your puddles

And lo, he of the name Obama shall have dominion over all of the birds of the air and the fish of the sea and the water that …

Federal storm policies put Florida in danger

The following piece was co-authored by Jay Liles, a policy consultant with the Florida Wildlife Federation, and Gary Appelson, policy coordinator of the Sea Turtle Conservancy. Andrew. Charley. Wilma. …

New study shows how Florida Citizens subsidizes the rich

The policy subsidies offered by Florida's state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. flow disproportionately to the wealthy and, in concert with similarly regressive subsidies from the National Flood Insurance …

Hollywood celebrities aren’t abiding California drought rules

The California drought, that exceptional byproduct of an exciting, unnatural approach to preserving the lives of millions of tiny, endangered fish for no discernable purpose except to prevent their …

California is learning to pay its own way

California is a land of calamity. The ground shakes, it runs dry and, with underappreciated frequency, it catches fire. Surprisingly, the cost of modern life in the Golden State …

We can’t stop the rain, but we can build smarter

This piece was co-authored by Peter Lehner, executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council. It’s troubling to see images of American families assessing the soggy aftermath of a …

Oversight needed to get conservation compliance right

Ever since they were first signed into law by then-President Ronald Reagan in 1985, the so-called “conservation compliance” provisions of America’s agricultural support programs have stood as prime …

R Street praises Florida Legislature for limiting exposure faced by Citizens

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 23, 2015) – The R Street Institute praised the Florida Legislature today for its unanimous passage of H.B. 715, sponsored by Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo. The …

SmarterSafer letter on federal flood standards

To Whom It May Concern: SmarterSafer, a coalition of environmental organizations, taxpayer advocates, insurance representatives, housing and mitigation groups is pleased to submit comments on the Federal Flood Risk …

Whether they like it or hate it, conservatives must look to California

The State of California is fun to mock, easy to condemn and, particularly for many conservatives and libertarians, simple to write off. A little perspective from outside the …

Bracing for the storm

The attached report was co-authored jointly by members of the SmarterSafer Coalition. Hurricanes, floods, fires, and heat waves resulting in millions of dollars of damage are no longer unusual …

Moving toward real water prices

Gov. Jerry Brown has taken a dramatic, but dangerous, step by issuing an executive order to cut non-agricultural water usage by 25 percent. The unprecedented and problematic step …

Top 5 findings on the environmental harms of crop insurance subsidies

We at R Street do a lot of warning that our nation’s misguided crop insurance supports, in combination with the disastrous Renewable Fuel Standard, are distorting land and …

Letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee: RFS is broken

Dear Chairman Upton and Ranking Member Pallone: The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is increasingly recognized as a failed policy in need of attention by the Congress. With the exception …

The EPA wants to watch you shower

If you're like me, a night away at a hotel means one thing: a long, hot shower. It's not that I want to deliberately drain a Holiday Inn's …

Marx, Smith, Amplifyd and Nestle: social investing in 2015

One of the more interesting signs that the economy is picking up again is the new focus on social responsibility emanating from the C-suites of major corporations. The …

Geoengineering: The cold war on global warming

A recent panel of the National Academy of Sciences called for increased research into geoengineering. The announcement drew a variety of reactions, ranging from “this is proof that …

A rose ceremony we should tune out

Prime-time television is rarely, if ever, conducive to serious debates about public policy. Yet a recent article by Danielle Paquette on the Washington Post's Wonkblog manages to do …

Lehmann talks extreme weather on NPR’s On Point

With record snowstorms crippling New England, R Street Institute Senior Fellow and Editor-in-Chief R.J. Lehmann was a guest this week on the nationally syndicated public radio program On …

Support the Harvest Price Subsidy Prohibition Act

Dear Member of Congress, On behalf of the millions of Americans represented by the undersigned organizations, we write to urge your strong support of the Harvest Price Subsidy Prohibition …

States would be better stewards of most federal lands

Tell the typical American that the federal government controls 640 million acres of land (close to 28 percent of the nation's total area), and you're likely to get …

Before the Flood: Reducing Louisiana’s vulnerability to severe weather through market-based insurance reforms

This paper will examine Louisiana's vulnerability to severe weather and suggest market-based reforms to adapt to extreme inherent risks, which could be exacerbated by a changing climate. It is …

Lasting reforms for Florida’s property insurance market

With the 2014 Hurricane Season having drawn to an unremarkable close, Florida has now gone nine years without a hurricane making landfall. This represents the longest such “drought” …

If a rusty gravedigger dies in Alabama’s wetlands, should conservatives care?

We might not know it, but we are all environmentalists in Alabama...or at least, we should be. "Environmentalism" is not a dirty word or some practice reserved for …

Time to shuck the big corn giveaway

By most reasonable measures, America’s corn farmers have had a fantastic year. Their 14-billion-bushel harvest represents the largest yearly haul of any crop by any single country in …

‘Waters of the United States’ could be most significant EPA rule you’ve never heard of

In 1972, Congress enacted the Clean Water Act to "restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation's waters." The federal government's legal authority to regulate …

Slowing the rise of the oceans

From Al Gore to the leadership of groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists, environmentalists long have warned that global disaster is certain unless we do something about …

California’s incomplete prescription for reducing climate risk

The California Natural Resources Agency has just released its Final Safeguarding California Plan for Reducing Climate Risk. The roughly 350-page plan is designed to provide policymakers with recommendations …

R Street applauds bipartisan bill increasing government preparedness for extreme weather

WASHINGTON (August 1, 2014) - The R Street Institute is encouraged by today's introduction of H.R. 5314, the bipartisan Preparedness and Risk Management for Extreme Weather Patterns Assuring Resilience …

Address flood insurance and the environment with RESTORE Act funding

Many Alabamians may find it hard to believe that July 15 of this year marked four years since the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill was capped in the Gulf …

It’s time for a conservative global-warming agenda

Conservatives should adopt a new strategy in the battle over global warming. Rather than falling back on the claim that global warming isn’t a problem, conservatives should take …

Open letter to Congress: Support amendments to reform crop insurance

June 11, 2014 An Open Letter to the United States Congress: Support Amendments to Reform Crop Insurance Dear Representative, On behalf of the millions of members of the undersigned organizations, we urge …

Fugitive emissions from hydraulic fracturing: Current knowledge and policy implications

Recent innovations in drilling technology, especially staged hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") and horizontal drilling, have unlocked unconventional resources of oil and natural gas.  These developments represent a revolutionary moment …

WORKING PAPER: Conservation in the 113th Congress

With no major storm events and few environmental catastrophes in the United States in 2013 or thus far in 2014, it's been easy for policymakers to lose a …

The Cliven Bundy in all of us

At first glance, Cliven Bundy, the Nevada cattle-rancher who has been fighting the Bureau of Land Management tooth and nail for more than 20 years, might strike you …

Testimony to U.S. House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs

Chairman Fleming, Ranking Member Sablan, and distinguished subcommittee members, My name is Christian Camara and I am the Florida director and a co-founder of the R Street Institute.  We …

Green Scissors letter on expansion of Port of Palm Beach

Col. Alan M. Dodd District Engineer Jacksonville District United States Army Corps of Engineers  701 San Marco Blvd Jacksonville, FL  32207-8175 RE:  Response to Final Integrated Feasibility Report …

Local control is better management for federal lands

In his recent State of the Union speech, President Obama promised to use presidential authority to "protect more of our pristine federal lands." Similar to most political statements, …

Federal lands should be opened to more local knowledge

WASHINGTON (Feb. 10, 2014) -- As a growing chorus of states in the American West stand up to claim shared or sole sovereignty over federal lands within their …

Bringing local knowledge to federal lands

The United States might indeed be one nation, indivisible, but there are huge differences between its eastern and western halves when it comes to federal lands. In the …

5 reasons Ronald Reagan’s secret identity was Captain Planet

If we've learned any lessons during the past few decades, perhaps the most important is that preservation of our environment is not a partisan challenge; it’s common sense. …

Don’t encourage risky development

The Jan. 30 editorial, Mapping our future, is right to commend South Florida’s governments for doing more to “tackle the threat of climate change” and rising sea levels. …

Why road pricing matters

Road pricing — the use of fees or tolls applied to road usage — is the most promising tool we have to improve the productivity of America's aging …

A stronger environment, a freer economy

It is almost taken for granted in America that, when it comes to the environment, you have two choices: either the environment is protected and the economy suffers, …

The economic benefits of protected lands: A government-lite approach

During the 1966 fight over whether to construct dams within the Grand Canyon, the Sierra Club made their objections known through a full-page advertisement in the New York …

R Street paper argues for ‘government-lite’ approach to conservation

WASHINGTON (Nov. 12, 2013) – A new paper from the R Street Institute argues that taking a middle-ground "government-lite" approach to conservation on federal lands would better serve …

Join the R Street Institute for a discussion of ‘government-lite’ conservation

WASHINGTON (Nov. 7, 2013) -– In light of recent attention over the closure of the National Parks System during October's federal government shutdown, a new paper from the …

Letter to farm bill conferees

Oct. 28, 2013 Dear Farm Bill Conferee, I write on behalf of the R Street Institute to urge your support for two important crop insurance reforms in any farm bill …

Oppose reform-less Water Resources Reform and Development Act

October 22, 2013 Dear Representative, We understand that H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013, will be on the House floor as early as Wednesday, Oct.23. …

An open letter to the United States Congress: Support efforts to curb crop insurance subsidies!

Dear Representative, On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the undersigned organizations, we write in strong support of a Sense of the House of Representatives instructing farm …

The value of conservation compliance to hunters and anglers

In recent years, free-market groups and environmental activists have demonstrated they can work together effectively to root out wasteful federal subsidies that benefit environmentally destructive development. As such …

Why Robert Smith is wrong about Ronald Reagan’s environmental record

Last week in The American Spectator, CEI’s Robert Smith criticized the organization I head, the R Street Institute, for celebrating the anniversary of Ronald Reagan's dedication of the …

Opportunities for the expansion of the Coastal Barrier Resources Act of 1982

Current government policy incentivizes behavior that both harms the environment and wastes taxpayer dollars. Rooting out these policies and finding ways to dampen their negative effects offers an …

Climate change: It’s time for a conservative alternative

President Barack Obama's climate agenda announced in June 2013 represents the latest of many Democratic Party efforts to address climate change. Although it includes no new legislation, the …

Mount St. Helens anniversary highlights conservative conservationism

WASHINGTON (Aug. 27, 2013) – Today's anniversary marking the establishment by President Ronald Reagan of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument should underscore to elected leaders the …

Preserving natural beauty, encouraging economic growth

One of the greatest things about America is her natural beauty. From the peaks of the Rockies to the lowlands of the Great Plains, to the eastern and …

Farm Bill fiasco: Big Ag’s big subsidies

With this month’s passage of a farm bill that doles out tens of billions of dollars in subsidies to agribusiness interests, the Republican-controlled House has signaled that the …

Farm Bill folly: The real way the bill harms the poor

A long line of representatives from the Congressional Black Caucus came to the floor July 11 to stand in opposition to the House's agriculture-only Farm Bill, which passed …

Do House Republicans really want reform?

From The Blaze: As much as I never like to question anyone’s intentions, I finally find myself asking this week, do House Republicans really want to reform Washington? …

An open letter to the House of Representatives: Farm Bill is bad process, worse policy

July 12, 2013 Dear Representative, On behalf of the R Street Institute, I write today to urge your opposition to H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act. …

Open letter to Speaker Boehner: Ensure open process on ‘farm-only’ Farm Bill!

July 9, 2013 Dear Speaker Boehner, On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the undersigned organizations, we write to commend you for separating the agriculture and nutrition …

Climate change, Chris Christie and the truth

To hear some on the political left describe it, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has decided to ignore what he knows is true -- that the climate is …

Eli Lehrer on R Street, conservatism and the environment

Peter Sinclair's two-part YouTube interview with Eli Lehrer on R Street, conservatism and the environment. …

Letter to House Rules Committee on Farm Bill

June 17, 2013 The Honorable Pete Sessions Chairman, Committee on Rules United States House of Representatives H-312 The Capitol Washington, DC 20515 Dear Chairman Sessions, On behalf of the R Street …

Reagan’s free-market environmentalism

Nearly a quarter century after he left the White House, President Ronald Reagan’s legacy still looms large in many areas. His successful effort to win the Cold War …

Strange bedfellows: SmarterSafer.org and the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012

  PDF Download Text This paper by R Street President Eli Lehrer, which originally appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Forum,  focuses …

Reagan’s free-market environmentalism

Ronald Reagan was probably the last really great leader to serve as president of the United States. Although disdained and considered a dangerous ideologue by most elites while …

Reagan, the environmentalist

Mention Ronald Reagan to an avowed environmentalist, and you’ll generally elicit a groan. In the conventional telling, the Gipper appointed right-wing extremists to key environmental positions and proceeded …

Oppose Landrieu Farm Bill Amendment #1113: Gutting flood insurance reforms

June 3, 2013 Dear Senator, On the heels of increasing the insolvent National Flood Insurance Program’s borrowing authority by $9.7 billion as part of the Superstorm Sandy supplemental spending package, …

Farm policy: The “terrible twelve” (that actually relate to farming)

Washington’s Farm Policy is a nearly trillion dollar tangle of agriculture subsidies, welfare payments and environmental patronage. There is tremendous need for reform. Current subsidy programs are rooted …

‘Shallow Loss’ is a loser of a program

Buried deep inside the $950 billion farm bill soon to come before the House and Senate agriculture committees is a policy proposal that easily ranks among the most …

Going green, shrinking the state: Florida leads the way

With the stroke of his pen on a piece of insurance reform legislation, Florida Gov. Rick Scott will soon have the opportunity to begin writing another chapter to …

R Street policy statement on crop insurance reform

As Congress returns for a second attempt at crafting fiscally responsible food and farm policy, it should ensure that basic limitations to taxpayer liability are applied to federally …

Farmers with benefits

American farmers did well in 2012, to say the least. They benefited from record-high commodity prices, burgeoning organic produce markets and high sale prices for farmland. As they …

Why don’t we eliminate farm subsidies?

The 2014 White House budget includes some real cuts in farm subsidies, including to the absolutely absurd Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment Program. As Justin Green points out, this …

Senate water bill deserves serious scrutiny

April 10, 2013 Dear Senator: We write urging greater scrutiny of misguided and potentially costly provisions in S.601, the Water Resources Development Act of 2013. It is our understanding that …

Time to open fire on farm subsidies

President Barack Obama, quite rightly, has been derided as the "food stamp president." While serving in office, the 44th president has presided over continued, massive expansions of the …

Support Begich-Flake Amendment #254

Dear Senator, The undersigned organizations urge you to support Begich-Flake amendment #254 to the Senate Budget Resolution to bring transparency to the federally subsidized crop insurance program. Federal taxpayers spent …

Saving the earth, saving tax dollars: The case for conservation compliance

This piece was co-authored by Larry Schweiger, president and chief executive officer of the National Wildlife Federation. Whether they've inherited historic family farms, are setting out to grow crops …

Harvest real savings by reforming agricultural policy

February 14, 2013 Dear Representative, On behalf of the millions of Americans represented by the undersigned organizations, we write urging you to take common sense steps to reform federal supports …

Coastal preservation through Citizens reform

PDF Download Text The 30-year-old federal Coastal Barrier Resources Act has been successful in promoting conservation of natural resources, fiscal responsibility, and the reduction of inappropriate high-risk coastal …

Conservation compliance: The obscure environmental provision key to protecting taxpayers and privatizing crop insurance

The overwhelming majority of American farms receive federal subsidies of some sort. These payments are controversial and, in the opinion of many who favor smaller government, ought not …

Eli Lehrer on the Farm Bill at HuffPost Live

R Street President Eli Lehrer takes part in a panel discussion at HuffPost Live on the 2012 Farm Bill, which Congress failed to pass before the existing bill's …

Farmers, farms and the GOP’s brand of client politics

I'm a Republican, but on a handful of issues -- gay marriage, the earned income tax credit and some types of environmental laws -- my own views are …

Green Scissors 2012

PDF Download Text Green Scissors 2012 recommends nearly $700 billion in cuts to wasteful and environmentally harmful federal spending. It is produced by Friends of the Earth, Taxpayers for …

Agri-business backs making crop insurance boondoggle even bigger

Even as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction – the so-called “Super Committee” – moves toward its Nov. 23 deadline to come up with at least $1.5 …

Green Scissors 2011

PDF Download Text This report, co-authored by R Street President Eli Lehrer, was issued in August 2011 as a joint project of the Heartland Institute, Friends of the …

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