The Role of Property Rights in Protecting Water Quality (Revisited)

Gallery

A new book on water management features a chapter by Elizabeth Brubaker on the role of property rights in protecting water quality. L’eau entre réglementation et marché, published in France, looks at innovative approaches to managing water quantity and quality and explores market mechanisms that may be more effective and less costly than traditional regulations. Continue reading

Advertisements

Environmental assessments don’t protect the environment: Bruce Pardy

Gallery

Last week, as most environmentalists bemoaned the federal government’s decision to streamline environmental assessments, one expert shed no tears. Bruce Pardy, professor of environmental law at Queen’s University and member of Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal, told CBC Radio that “environmental assessment is not a great way to protect the environment.” Continue reading

Make polluters pay! Back off government!

Gallery

In this article in the C2C Journal, Elizabeth Brubaker reviews recent court cases against polluters, large and small, demonstrating that common-law property rights remain powerful tools for environmental protection. But courts are hamstrung when governments authorize pollution. Only when governments don’t stand in the way can people use their property rights to shield themselves from harm. Continue reading

Encouraging Pollution: The Perils of Liability Limits

Gallery

The authors of this research paper examine the rationales for and the effects of laws that cap liability for environmental disasters, such as oil spills and nuclear accidents. Such laws, they conclude, subsidize environmentally harmful activities and encourage risky behaviour. Continue reading

Common law has been defanged

Gallery

While reporting on the trial of Wiebo Ludwig and Richard Boonstra for the National Post, Christie Blatchford managed unintentionally to articulate the real issue in the subterfuge that runs as deep as the many hydrocarbon-emitting wells in the northwestern part of Alberta.

Continue reading

Case of the stolen gene

Gallery

In this Alberta Report article by Carla Yu, Elizabeth Brubaker speculates that Roundup Ready Canola seed could be deemed a trespass if it drifts onto someone’s property. Continue reading

Owners are protectors (review of Property Rights in the Defence of Nature)

Gallery

Ask an environmentalist how to ensure an ongoing healthy ecology, and he will almost certainly suggest more government regulation. Who would have thought that a more effective method has always been available within the Eng­lish-speaking world? Yet this method has kept the British Isles green, even though their popu­lation density is 75 times greater than Canada’s.

Continue reading

The Common Law and the Environment: The Canadian Experience

Gallery

A chapter from Who Owns the Environment?, a collection of essays edited by Peter Hill and Roger Meiners exploring the theory that environmental concerns are essentially property rights issues. In this chapter, Elizabeth Brubaker reviews the ancient roots of contemporary property rights and traces their evolution in Canada. She describes the ways in which concerned citizens have used their property rights to clean up and to prevent pollution. She then chronicles successive governments’ efforts to replace the common law with statutes and regulations governing the environment. Lastly, she recommends restoring strong property rights in order to return control over environmental degradation to those most directly affected by it.

Continue reading

Privatizing Water Supply and Sewage Treatment: How Far Should We Go?

Gallery

This paper, published in Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, was prepared for Property Rights, Economics & Environment: Water Resources, an international conference organised by the Centre d’Analyse Economique and the International Center for Research on Environmental Issues in 1998. In the paper, Elizabeth Brubaker compares four approaches to the privatization and regulation of water and sewage utilities and explores the environmental implications of each approach.

Continue reading

The Common Law Approach to Pollution Prevention

Gallery

A transcript of a roundtable discussion, hosted by the Center for Private Conservation, between Hope Babcock, Elizabeth Brubaker, David Schoenbrod, and Bruce Yandle. Explores the promise and pitfalls of applying common law remedies to contemporary environmental concerns.

Continue reading

Property Rights in the Defence of Nature: Review in Journal of Environmental Planning and Mangement

Gallery

This book celebrates the potential of the traditional common law of nuisance as a framework for protecting the environment. Ms. Brubaker unashamedly assumes that private property owners are the best guardians for the purity of rivers and the clarity of the atmosphere. She provides striking illustrations of how those with property rights may be driven by economic common sense to protect natural resources, if they are fully informed and if they are given the freedom to act.

Continue reading

Property Rights and the Defence of Nature: Review

Gallery

This is a high-spirited, well-written and informa­tive book on the law as the protector of the environ­ment, a book to be recommended to students in en­vironmental studies and law and economics, a book made more interesting, challenging and useful because its prescriptions are, in my opinion, largely wrong.

Continue reading

The Role of Property Rights in Protecting Water Quality

Gallery

This paper, published in Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, was prepared for Property Rights and Environment, an international conference organised by Centre d’Analyse Economique in June 1996. In it, Elizabeth Brubaker reviews the ways in which Canadians have used common-law property rights to protect water quality and chronicles governments’ tendencies to replace the common law with regulations that make it more difficult for individuals to protect waters.

Continue reading

Municipal Wastewater Pollution in British Columbia

Gallery

This report by Martin Nantel examines the environmental damage caused by the discharge of treated and untreated sewage into B.C. waters, paying special attention to the threats posed to the Fraser River salmon. It also addresses governments’ failure to enforce the legislation intended to regulate sewage treatment plants and recommends a number of measures to alleviate sewage pollution in the province. Continue reading

Property Rights in the Defence of Nature: Book Review, Saskatchewan Law Review

Gallery

This book focuses on the power inherent in common law trespass, nuisance and riparian property rights as a means of enabling individuals to protect the environment. Brubaker indicates that the use of these rights as a means of environmental conservation has fallen into disuse as environmentalists concentrate more of their efforts on lobbying governments for increased regulations.

Continue reading

Without Obstruction, Diversion or Corruption: The Power of Property Rights to Preserve Our Lakes and Rivers

Gallery

A presentation to the Fraser Institute Student Seminar on Public Policy Issues, in Toronto, Ontario, on November 4, 1995.
 

Continue reading

Property Rights in the Defence of Nature

By Elizabeth Brubaker

This book draws on cases from England, Canada, and the United States, showing how the common law of property has for centuries been a force for environmental protection, while contemporary statutes have allowed polluters to foul private lands and public resources alike. It argues that individuals and communities should be entrusted with the task of preserving the environment and that, with stronger property rights, they would regain the power to prevent much harmful activity.

Published by Earthscan Publications Limited and Earthscan Canada, 1995

Continue reading

Nature’s Case for Restoring Strong Property Rights

Gallery

In this presentation to a Student Seminar on Public Policy Issues in 1994, Elizabeth Brubaker describes the ways in which individuals and businesses use property rights to protect the environment and how, when governments take away property rights, the environment suffers.

Continue reading