Endangered Species Act & Sierra Club

Woody Woods woody.woods at umb.edu
Tue Mar 9 11:07:17 EST 2004

Stan, though I wouldn't have been the one to bring up Ayn Rand on this issue
(though I much admire her writing), I might have been the one to write about
property rights, specifically compensation for land use restriction-- the
general idea that if the law prevents you from using your land for a
particular purpose (for example, draining a wetland in order to build
homes), you are entitled to compensation for your lost profit.

There is much in the history of our laws on both sides, largely because air,
water and wildlife stubbornly refuse to recognize property lines-- and a
drained wetland, to stick with the example, can affect the hydrology and
proneness to flooding of other people's property, or spawning in
commercially important fish populations. Often the competing interests are
at least as much economic as environmental per se.

I'd add that if compensation for land use restriction became universal, it
would spell the end of something most of us take for granted-- namely, local
zoning bylaws that often protect our property value by restricting
potentially profitable land uses by our neighbors.

I would venture that the one certainty is that the balance between property
rights on the one hand and the effects of land use that extend beyond a
property line on the other will continue to be debated (as they have since
well before our Constitution)-- and never quite settled.


William A. Woods Jr.
Department of Biology
University of Massachusetts Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd
Boston, MA 02125

Lab: 617-287-6642
Fax: 617-287-6650

> From: "Stanley A. Gorodenski" <stan_gorodenski at asualumni.org>
> Reply-To: stan_gorodenski at asualumni.org
> Date: Mon, 08 Mar 2004 19:15:45 -0800
> To: Leps-l at lists.yale.edu
> Subject: RE: Endangered Species Act & Sierra Club
> About 2 or 3 years ago in another list related to another one of my
> interests there was a post related to the issue of property rights.
> Someone on this list brought up this subject today and I wanted to add
> to it, but my email-browser crashed before I could. My restore is 5 days
> old and I do not remember who this 'someone' is.
> The person in this other list (about 2-3 years ago) provided some
> information concerning Ayn Rand that appears to be the basis of the
> 'suspicions' many hold of a conspiracy and fear of the conservation
> movement (part of the conservation movement includes declaring some
> species as endangered). According to this individual, Ayn Rand held a
> philosophical position that there is an elite group of individuals (not
> named) who are bent on taking away our freedoms and suppressing us.
> According to Rand, the issue of conservation is being used, and maybe
> was even created, by the elite group to further their objectives. Does
> anyone know more about this? I may have some of my facts wrong, or the
> other individual may have misinterpreted Ayn Rand.
> Stan
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