A bid to save pristine land

Karl FitzgeraldCommentaryLeave a Comment

Creative Commons License photo credit: Fool-On-The-Hill

A renegade environmentalist has stepped into the breach to stop one of GW’s last acts of terror – selling off pristine land for oil and exploration at bargain prices.

A bid to save pristine land:

Tim DeChristopher, a 27-year-old college student, had slipped into the auction room and saw a woman he knew, a fellow environmentalist observing the event. She was weeping as Utah’s wild lands were sold off parcel by parcel. DeChristopher decided he had to act. So he began bidding.

By the time BLM officials caught on, DeChristopher had bid $1.79 million he did not have to acquire the rights to 12 parcels totaling 22,000 acres. Federal authorities threatened to prosecute DeChristopher for bidding without cash in hand.

DeChristopher had an economics exam at the University of Utah that morning. The final question was whether the prices paid at the auction would represent the true cost of energy exploration. The answer, he wrote, was no: They would not take into account the environmental and public health effects of fossil fuels. Then he went to the BLM office to join the picket line.

A fairer way to ensure the community gets its fair share of any solar parks/ oil drilling is to ensure there is a 10% royalty paid to the community (based on the value of that land, reflecting oil or solar values) for the ownership of that land. Then those parcels that did get sold off to oil drillers would share some of the immense profit with the community, rather than shareholders receiving the majority.Expensive drilling with high upfront costs would be deterred.

If environmental easements were to be introduced, this would mean that the land could be preserved for its’ natural beauty, where an environmental trust would operate to benefit from the future carbon sequestration that vegetation would provide. These carbon negative revenues would pay the land rent fees. Read Capitalism 3.0 for more on environmental trusts.

Well done Tim for saving the commons using economic forces and a little activist know how!

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