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