“Over the years, as a chief policy advisor to a governor, a businessman, and then as a state wildlife commissioner, I grew frustrated at environmental policy that seemed like a one-way road to a command and control model. It left me feeling unsettled that conservation was defined exclusively by a government-heavy regulatory system, especially since I knew there were private landowners, entrepreneurs, communities, businesses and individuals out there doing right by the environment. That’s how I came to love PERC. PERC serves as their voice, and has done so for the past 30 years.
PERC has inspired me to approach conservation with an eye toward getting the incentives right. At the end of the day, incentives matter, and ownership—that personal investment, love, and connection to something or someplace special—to me has always seemed the best incentive for stewardship. Put it all together, and it’s called free market environmentalism.”
Brian Yablonski is External Affairs Director for the Gulf Power Company, a subsidiary of the Southern Company—one of the largest electric energy companies in the nation. He is responsible for Gulf Power’s regulatory and governmental affairs activities as well as for providing environmental relations support for the Southern Company.
Brian is also a Commissioner and Vice Chairman of Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the state agency charged with protecting wildlife and overseeing hunting and fishing activities. In 2007, he was appointed by then-Florida Speaker of the House Marco Rubio to serve on the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission. In that capacity, he sponsored the successful Constitutional Amendment 4, an initiative to provide property tax exemptions for private stewardship lands placed into conservation easements. The Florida Wildlife Federation named him Florida’s 2009 Wildlife Conservationist of the Year.
Previously, Brian served as Vice President of Public Affairs for the St. Joe Company. He also served for four years as Director of Policy and Deputy Chief of Staff for Florida Governor Jeb Bush, where he helped craft major policy initiatives including the elimination of $9 billion in taxes and Everglades restoration. From 1989–1990, he worked in the West Wing of the White House as a personal staff assistant to President George H.W. Bush.
He has been an adjunct fellow with PERC since 2003 and we now welcome him as a Board Member. Brian is a regular contributor to PERC’s magazine and has appeared on the Stossel show, FOX News, and the FOX Business Channel to discuss free market environmentalism.
In addition, Brian serves on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Excellence in Education and the Foundation for Florida’s Future, both reform-oriented education organizations.
An attorney, he graduated from Wake Forest University and the University of Miami School of Law. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife, a freelance writer, and two children, and enjoys fly-fishing, backcountry hiking and camping, and wingshooting.
Read some of Brian's work on The National Parks, Marketing The Wealth of Nature, Bisonomics, Shooting the Wild, Valles Caldera National Preserve: A New Paradigm for Federal Lands?