The political terrain on which the environmental debate is conducted today is defined almost entirely by the central premises of the environmental left. The green lobby maintains that ecological resources are by definition public property, or commons, that must be centrally planned and stewarded by bureaucratic agents lest they be recklessly despoiled by industry. But the biggest and worst polluter in America is the federal government, which subsidizes a host of activities that arguably cause more environmental damage than all the actors in the ‘‘unfettered’’ free market.

It makes no sense for the federal government to subsidize environmental destruction on one hand while establishing laws, regulations, and vast bureaucracies to mitigate it on the other. Reconsidering those subsidies would help not only the environment but the economy as well.

More on Natural Resources

Commentary

Petrostates Have a Cheap Oil Malady

By Emma Ashford. Al Jazeera America. January 30, 2015.

Washington and the Geopolitical Benefits of Plunging Oil Prices: Real but Limited

By Ted Galen Carpenter. Aspenia Online. January 19, 2015.

Reducing the Risk of Oil Price Spikes

By Richard W. Rahn. Washington Times. June 16, 2014.

Cato Studies

Improving Incentives for Federal Land Managers: The Case for Recreation Fees

By Randal O’Toole. Policy Analysis No. 726. June 18, 2013.

Humanity Unbound: How Fossil Fuels Saved Humanity from Nature and Nature from Humanity

By Indur M. Goklany. Policy Analysis No. 715. December 19, 2012.

Mitt Romney’s Energy Plan

By Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren. Working Paper No. 10. October 11, 2012.

Public Filings

Yates v. United States

By Bradley J. Bondi, Joseph J. Bial, Lex Urban, Christopher Jones, Ilya Shapiro, & Trevor Burrus. Legal Briefs. July 7, 2014.

Office of Management and Budget’s Request for Comments on the Technical Support Document Entitled Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order 12866

By Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger. Public Comments. January 27, 2014.

Hornbeck Offshore Services v. Jewell

By Ilya Shapiro and Trevor Burrus. Legal Briefs. August 12, 2013.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Oil Train Angst

Feder Bose. Regulation. Spring 2015.

Cheaper Oil Cannot Hurt the Economy

Pierre Lemieux. Regulation. Spring 2015.

The Problem of Water

Gary D. Libecap. Regulation. Fall 2014.

Events

Threats to the U.S. Energy Renaissance

Featuring Patrick J. Michaels. May 15, 2015. Policy Forum.

The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels

Featuring Patrick J. Michaels. November 21, 2014. Capitol Hill Briefing.

Boom to Bust? How Export Restrictions Imperil America’s Oil and Gas Bonanza

Featuring Daniel J. Ikenson and Scott Lincicome. February 10, 2014. Policy Forum.

Downsizing the Federal Government

Cutting the Bureau of Reclamation and Reforming Water Markets

By Chris Edwards and Peter J. Hill. February 2012.

Reforming Federal Land Management

By Randal O'Toole and Chris Edwards. February 2012.

The Forest Service

By Randal O'Toole. August 2009.