It appears that by opening the waters to the public, Opération Déclubage has caused, at least partly, the general decline in the quality of fishing in the province of Québec. This paper is an attempt to demonstrate that leaving the waters to the care of unaccountable managers leads to a decline in fish stocks, and that a clear system of private property rights is better suited to ensuring resource conservation – not just in Quebec but everywhere the opportunity exists for private river stewards to improve fisheries management.
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
Toronto faces a motion to reject the idea of privatizing its water and sewage systems. Worldwide experience shows that could be a mistake.
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 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.
In an editorial in Hazardous Materials Management, Guy Crittenden writes that Property Rights in the Defence of Nature presents “a compelling argument in favour of property rights.”
In this book, Elizabeth Brubaker, Executive Director of Environment Probe, examines the tools provided in common law property rights which make them powerful instruments for protecting the environment.
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.
In his forward to Elizabeth Brubaker’s book, Property Rights in Defence of Nature, Anthony Scott writes that her arguments are "clear, vigorous (and) convincing." I’ll grant that the arguments are vigorous. But Brubaker’s brief treatise on the universal virtue of property rights as a bulwark against environmental destruction is not convincing.
f the landlubbers in the reading audience will indulge me for another column, I will elaborate a bit further on conserving fish stocks through privatizing marine fish quotas. The primary mechanism for this is assigning individual transferable quotas (ITQs). We only have to look at Canadian experience with ITQs to know it will not work.
Libertarians have railed against entrusting government with the responsibility for environmental protection for years. As the failures of political environmental management have become clear, environmentalists have begun moving toward this view, however reluctantly. As this has happened in the United States, so too it has occurred abroad.
This excerpt from Property Rights in the Defence of Nature reprinted by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, describes the ways in which fisheries owners have used their property rights to protect fish and habitats.
This book argues, quite forcefully, that owning nature is the best hope for true environmental protection. Ownership doesn’t only facilitate stewardship, Ms. Brubaker argues, it encourages it.
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
Over a century ago, in 1885, Antoine Ratté filed a lawsuit against several of Canada’s most notorious polluters. That suit and the government’s reaction to it established a shameful pattern that governs pollution across Canada to this day.