A New Landscape: 8 Ideas for the Interior Department


Any time of transition brings new opportunity. As a new administration settles in Washington and legislators embark upon a new Congress, there is an opportunity to address environmental challenges and economic obstacles related to the management of the nation’s land, water, and other natural resources.

When it comes to land management, the U.S. Department of the Interior plays the widest-ranging and most crucial role of any department of the federal government. Controlling such a vast amount of territory and resources is a major responsibility and a difficult one.

In this PERC Public Lands Report, we outline eight policy ideas that would harness the power of markets and property rights to deliver environmental and economic improvements for the lands, waters, and other resources under the control of the Department of the Interior.

  1. Public Lands Management: Adopt new management approaches that allow greater flexibility and freedom while retaining federal oversight and accountability

  2. National Parks: Make the National Park Service less reliant on politically driven Congressional appropriations

  3. Land and Water Conservation Fund: Reform the LWCF to address critical needs on existing public lands

  4. Endangered Species: Harness economic incentives to enhance wildlife assets

  5. Grazing Policy: Resolve rangeland disputes with contracts, not armed conflicts

  6. Tribal Policy: Give tribes more authority over their natural resources

  7. Water Policy: Harness markets to make the most of scarce water resources

  8. Oil and Gas: Adopt market-based measures to reduce conflict and boost revenues while protecting local environmental values

Download the full report, including endnotes and references.

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