Grazing in this part of the country has been an economic and cultural phenomenon since the era of settlement that followed Spanish exploration of the region.
The Western Conservationist Movement is a consortium of organizations sharing common concerns about the unnecessary removal of large masses federal lands to restricted status under the guise of national monuments or wilderness.In the case of the Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks declaration under the Antiquities Act, a number of critical questions were ignored and otherwise deflected, to be dealt with after the fact.Not unexpectedly, none of these questions were addressed once the half-million acre monument was formalized.
Grazing in this part of the country has been an economic and cultural phenomenon since the era of settlement that followed Spanish exploration of the region.Ranchers over the past several decades have enjoyed a cooperative partnership with the Bureau of Land Management that has demonstrably protected and preserved the beauty, diversity and sensitive ecology of these lands.History confirms that, in large transformations of federal lands to “protected status,” like the Sonoran Desert and Escalante Grand Staircase monuments, those partnerships become vulnerable to adverse legal actions that diminish and ultimately remove the collaborative grazing relationships.Regardless of numerous requests to recognize these culturally and ecologically important grazing traditions as monument purposes, no government effort to address the issue was ever initiated.
The Rio Grande valley is one of the most productive agricultural areas in the country as well as a very desirable region in which to live, giving rise to numerous communities, large and small, up and down that valley.A desert environment like ours can also be the setting for incredibly large and destructive flash floods, and that kind of floodwater frequently threatens the complex sensitive system of irrigation in the valley and its populated communities.A recent example is the 2006 destruction that occurred in Hatch, NM.Prevention is critically dependent upon access to the upper watershed in order to build large and small structures to spread and slow such flood-waters.Besides protecting the valley, these types of projects preserve and improve the biological diversity of the watershed.This type of mitigation was not sufficiently included among the stated monument purposes, and the safety of lands, property, infrastructure, and people are in question as a result.
Regardless of the vague idea of a buffer zone between the U.S./Mexico border and the vast monument area, no assurance exists that this wholesale removal of land, restricting access by law enforcement and homeland security personnel, will not result in a massive corridor for human trafficking, drug smuggling, and other dangerous criminal movement.The undeniable precedent of ecological destruction, as well as danger to residents, tourists and local citizens is easily found in the nearby Sonoran Desert Monument in Arizona.In that case, the ostensible “monument” protection of a very sensitive ecology is actually contributing to its destruction.Specific language preserving access, road infrastructure, and jurisdictions for federal, state, and county authorities was intentionally excluded from the Organ Mountain Desert Peaks monument’s purposes.As a result, the ecology and people of Dona Ana County have been put at risk.
The Western Conservationist Movement is not opposed to, and in fact supports, a monument encompassing the Organ Mountains; however, what we have seen is a massive, far-reaching and impactful abuse of the Antiquities Act reflected by the removal of half a million acres of federal lands reaching all the way from the Organ Mountains to Luna County.It is a vast, ill-conceived, ill-advised, unaccountable action that threatens the culture, natural productivity, and ecological balance of the region, as well as the safety and security of its citizens.
Murray N. Rothbard was the father of what some call Radical Libertarianism or Anarcho-Capitalism which Hans-Hermann Hoppe described as “Rothbard’s unique contribution to the rediscovery of property and property rights as the common foundation of both economics and political philosophy, and the systematic reconstruction and conceptual integration of modern, marginalist economics and natural-law political philosophy into a unified moral science: libertarianism.”
This book applies the principles of this “unified moral science” to environmental and natural resource management issues.
The book started out life as an assigned reading list for a university level course entitled Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian View.
As I began to prepare to teach the course, I quickly saw that there was a plethora of textbooks suitable for universal level courses dealing with environmental and natural resource economics. The only problem was that they were all based in mainstream neo-classical (or Keynesian) theory. I could find no single collection of material comprising a comprehensive treatment of environmental and natural resource economics based on Austrian Economic Theory.
However, I was able to find a large number of essays, monographs, papers delivered at professional meetings and published from a multitude of sources. This book is the result. It is composed of a collection of research reports and essays by reputable scientists, economists, and legal experts as well as private property and free market activists.
The book is organized into seven parts: I. Environmentalism: The New State Religion; II. The New State Religion Debunked; III. Introduction to Environmental and Natural Resource Economics; IV. Interventionism: Law and Regulation; V. Pollution and Recycling; VI. Property Rights: Planning, Zoning and Eminent Domain; and VII. Free Market Conservation. It also includes an elaborate Bibliography, References and Recommended Reading section including an extensive Annotated Bibliography of related and works on the subject.
The intellectual level of the individual works ranges from quite scholarly to informed editorial opinion.