Will Seek Legislation
DLC Think Tank Wants Reduced Role
In West for BLM, U.S. Forest Service
by Steve Miller
copyright © 1997, Electric Nevada
|The Washington, D. C. think tank with probably the closest ties to the Clinton administration is moving toward calling for a wholesale restructuring of the relationship between federal land management agencies and Western communities.|
the Progressive Foundation -- affiliated with the
Democratic Leadership Council's Progressive Policy
Institute -- Dr. Debra S. Knopman is calling for a move
away from the federal land agencies' centralized top-down
command-and- control approach.
"The first generation of [federal] environmental laws and rules, and the centralized agencies that enforce them, simply are not up to current political and scientific challenges," says Knopman, director of the foundation's Center for Innovation and the Environment.
Consequently, she said, a new book being prepared by the Institute, and edited by PPI head Will Marshall, will have a chapter recommending a major shift in control of public lands -- a "second generation" approach to environmental concerns.
The ideas in the chapter are "somewhat iconoclastic, coming from a group that's moderate, though not necessarily middle of the road," Knopman told Electric Nevada.
"What we set out, is a community stewardship proposal, whereby the federal government would enter into long-term, like 50-year, leases with community groups -- not individual ranchers, not
necessarily units of
local government, but some consortium of local or
regional interests that would say, 'We're going to take
responsibility for managing these lands -- BLM lands or
Forest Service lands -- and, in return for BLM getting
off our backs, we will do at least as well if not better
than you would in meeting conservation objectives.'"
bottom line going into 1997," writes Knopman,
"is that the frustration with the first generation
environmental approach remains a sore point, especially
for those most directly affected by regulation. If we
ignore these persistent frustrations, 1996 could well
turn into a hollow victory for the environmental
effective than distant federal regulators at driving home
the point that free markets do not create a right to do
harm to others, their property, or the community at
Next week in Electric Nevada:
An 18-year-veteran of the Department of Interior's Office of Policy Analysis recommends another course: breaking up the agencies.
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