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


Book Review: Groundbreaking! America’s New Quest for Mineral Independence

By Ned Mamula and Ann Bridges. Canadian Mining Journal. January 21, 2019.

The Earth’s Resources Are Limited, but Human Ingenuity Is Infinite

By Ryan Bourne. UK Telegraph. December 6, 2018.

Real Pushback on Chinese Mineral Imports = More Mining in America

By Ned Mamula and Ann Bridges. National Review (Online). September 6, 2018.

Cato Studies

The Simon Abundance Index: A New Way to Measure Availability of Resources

By Gale L. Pooley and Marian L. Tupy. Policy Analysis No. 857. December 4, 2018.

A Review of the Regional Green Gas Initiative

By David T. Stevenson. Working Paper No. 45. August 10, 2017.

Curse or Blessing? How Institutions Determine Success in Resource-Rich Economies

By Peter Kaznacheev. Policy Analysis No. 808. January 11, 2017.


Reflections on Private Water Supply: Agency and Equity Issues

Steve H. Hanke. Journal of Applied Corporate Finance. Vol. 23. No. 3. Summer 2011.

Privatizing Waterworks: Learning from the French Experience

Steve H. Hanke. Journal of Applied Corporate Finance. Vol. 23. No. 3. Summer 2011.

Privatizing Waterworks

Steve H. Hanke. JHU Global Water Magazine. January 16, 2011.

Public Filings

Markle Interests v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

By Ilya Shapiro, Trevor Burrus, and Frank Garrison. Legal Briefs. August 14, 2017.

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.

Cato Reviews & Journals

The Land of Many Opportunity Costs

Gary D. Libecap. Regulation. Fall 2018.

Rent-Seekers Infiltrate Public Utility Regulation

Kenneth W. Costello. Regulation. Summer 2018.

Moving Forward with Electricity Tariff Reform

Ahmad Faruqui and Mariko Geronimo Aydin. Regulation. Fall 2017.


The Simon Abundance Index: A New Way to Measure Availability of Resources

Featuring David M. Simon, Gale L. Pooley, George Gilder, & Marian L. Tupy. April 22, 2019. Policy Forum.

The National Flood Insurance Program, Zoning Regulations, and Hurricanes: Lessons for Lawmakers

Featuring Ike Brannon, R.J. Lehman, Ryan Maue, Vanessa Brown Calder, & Peter Russo. September 25, 2017. Capitol Hill Briefing.

America’s Need for Critical Minerals versus Federal Land Management

Featuring Ned Mamula and Patrick J. Michaels. May 2, 2016. Policy Forum.

Downsizing the Federal Government

The Forest Service

By Randal O'Toole. July 2016.

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.