Property Rights

Citizens have long used their common-law property rights to protect their environment against corporate and government polluters. The government’s response: to disempower the populace by authorizing pollution that property would have prevented, and to even pass laws overriding court decisions against polluters — all on the grounds that a greater, so-called national interest required the polluting activities.

With the publication of Greener Pastures and Property Rights in the Defense of Nature, with chapters about property rights in 14 other books, with articles in the popular press, and with presentations to conferences and classrooms in five countries, Environment Probe has worked tirelessly to restore property rights, so that individuals and communities will become empowered with means to protect the environment.

Expropriation – the taking of land without the consent of the owner – is a severe interference with private property rights. It is bad for the environment, the economy, and public morale. It is particularly repugnant when done for the benefit of private interests. Environment Probe is working to stop expropriation abuse, and to limit expropriation to genuine public uses.

Every two years, Environment Probe helps organize an international conference linking property rights, economics, and the environment. The conference, held in France, brings together activists, activists, scholars, and governments to explore the role of property rights and economic instruments in protecting land, air, water, marine life, and other resources. The 2012 conference focused on agriculture and forestry.

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