By Darrell Morrow
Wealth derived from the free capitalistic economic system in
the United States is why the country can have a clean
That was the message presented by economist Dr. Terry Anderson
to more than 300 persons attending the opening session Thursday
of the 13th annual Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce Economic
Outlook Conference at the Marriott Hotel.
"Economics and the environment are not at odds with one
another. It is not economics vs. the environment. It is only the
free market environmentalism that can give us the true
environmental management we desire," Anderson said.
Anderson is professor of agricultural economics at Montana
State University. He specializes in the field of natural resource
and environmental policy, and is an active state and federal
government policy adviser. He also has been a consultant to the
governments of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.
Economic interest in the environment has a more significant
impact in maintaining a clean environment than activistd
governmental controls, Anderson said.
He cited examples of common occurrences in the timber, oil and
agricultural industries of efforts on privately owned land to
preserve wildlife species and protect the environment.
The habitat of many species of birds and animals was improved
by commercial development of a wildlife preserve owned by the
National Audubon Society along the Louisiana coast, he said.
The National Audubon Society was enticed with the offer of
receiving $1 million to $2 million a year in royalties from oil
drillers to allow development of oil reserves under the property.
The oil companies added some dikes and other improvements that
enhanced the coastal land as a nesting ground for birds and made
it more inhabitable for other animals, Anderson said.
"There are now wells there that you will have trouble finding
them; the birds haven't been disturbed, the alligators haven't
been disturbed and the 'coons are getting along just fine _ and
all done on private property owned by the National Audubon
Society, one of the groups that is spending millions of dollars
in Washington, D.C., telling us we can't drill in Anwar Game
Refuge in Alaska.
"What is the difference? The difference is very simple. They
own the property (in Louisiana), they can call the shots and they
bear the cost of not drilling. They don't bear any cost of not
drilling at Anwar," he said.
Game rangers in Zimbabwe, with all of their tough enforcement
of laws against poaching endangered elephants and other animals,
could not succeed. When the government gave the wild animals of
the regions to local communities, the animals gained economic
value and the villages enforced tough preservation and management
practices of the animals, he said.
"The natives hated the animals. They were a nuisance before. …