From National Journal:

The program should now be expanded, argues a 2013 paper by Lori Sanders of the R Street Institute, a libertarian-conservative think tank. R Street proposes several ways to do this: first, by upgrading the maps used to determine what areas are eligible for protection (this would require a small appropriation); and also by granting the Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees implementation of the law, more flexibility to alter protected zones based on new information. (In many cases, areas that should be protected by the law aren’t, due to outdated or inaccurate maps.) 

Most significantly, R Street recommends that Congress “create new subsidy-free zones that include other conservation criteria.” The Pacific Northwest, for example, has numerous wetlands that could be protected but that don’t currently qualify because they aren’t technically considered to be coastline…

The law is an unusual environmental program. “It’s not a program,” says Eli Lehrer, president of R Street. “It’s the absence of a program. That’s why it’s so cheap.” Cheapness is the law’s great political selling point, but it’s also a potential political drawback for lawmakers: Unlike, say, the creation of a new national park, expanding CBRA wouldn’t provide economic stimulus or send extra money to the states.

Still, Lehrer says he has met with several Republicans who have expressed interest in backing legislation to expand the program. On the Democratic side, meanwhile, Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon is a champion of expansion. And outside of Congress, CBRA enjoys backing from both sides of the ideological spectrum as well: The National Wildlife Foundation praised the concept in 2014, citing it in a report on hurricanes and floods as an “example of how removing pro-development subsidies reduce[s] high-risk development.”

For his part, Lehrer has a pithy argument for expanding the law—one that could perhaps win over even the most recalcitrant legislators. “Stupid rich people can do whatever they want with their money,” he tells me. “But they shouldn’t be subsidized.”

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