New BLM Rule Surfaces on April Fool’s Day! Biden Admin Adopts PERC Ideas-Signs of a Libertarian Turn?

An alert TSW reader sent me the new BLM reg which is full of interesting stuff- today, April Fool’s Day.

It’s to be released Monday.

What is Monday? Well, we’re coming into the week of Passover for Jews and Holy Week for Christians.  If you are in either of those groups,  your eyes tend to be focused on history, the spiritual and family. So no, not good timing for something very complex. Although to be fair, the press release had one version was posted on the 30th.

There is indeed MOG stuff in there..and the FS is coming out with their MOG maps soon. I think political scientists would be fascinated by the differences in approaches between the FS and the BLM. I am still a fan of the Service First concept. In my experience, the public liked it a lot (local human beings with direct experience). Is it in the interests of good government for these two agencies to be pushed apart by certain groups with current political power? Should it be a Good Government priority to manage any policy and procedural drift between the two multiple-use agencies carefully?

I thought of our old TSW friend David Beebe, who used to say that the FS was a “captured agency”. (We miss you, David!) When I looked up “regulatory capture” on Wikipedia.. I realized that agencies could be captured by ideological forces..

In politics, regulatory capture (also agency capture and client politics) is a form of corruption of authority that occurs when a political entity, policymaker, or regulator is co-opted to serve the commercial, ideological, or political interests of a minor constituency, such as a particular geographic area, industry, profession, or ideological group.[1][2]

When regulatory capture occurs, a special interest is prioritized over the general interests of the public, leading to a net loss for society. The theory of client politics is related to that of rent-seeking and political failure; client politics “occurs when most or all of the benefits of a program go to some single, reasonably small interest (e.g., industry, profession, or locality) but most or all of the costs will be borne by a large number of people (for example, all taxpayers)”.[3]

(my bold)

I’m sure we may disagree about what “the general interests of the public” are.. whether processes or outcomes, and how these might best be determined. Nevertheless, I would say that the “general interests of the public”  is to have the two agencies attempt to harmonize as much as possible.

Anyway, I’m sure there’s lots of interesting stuff in there to talk about. Let me know in the comments, and we can set up separate posts/discussion threads for different topics of interest.

Sometimes on TSW I’ve heard negative things about PERC. Certainly they are fans of things some people here disagree with (as per Jonathan Wood’s House testimony last week on the Cottonwood fix).

They have long touted conservation leasing . Here’s their March 31 post, with links to other of their articles on the subject. I am not necessarily a fan of conservation leasing, but I do like it when the government takes ideas from all comers, regardless of ideological orientation.

Though more work remains to advance conservation leasing, this announcement represents a positive step forward toward that goal.

“The Bureau’s proposed rule is a big step in the right direction toward putting conservation on equal footing with other uses like drilling, mining, and ranching. Empowering conservationists to channel their interests through a market mechanism is more effective than zero-sum political warfare.”—Brian Yablonski, CEO, PERC

PERC believes that creating markets for conservation on public lands would allow resources to be managed for their highest-valued uses, whether that means consumption or conservation. Open markets that give everyone a seat at the table would be a cooperative way to make trade-offs in land use decisions and reduce conflict through voluntary exchange.


2 thoughts on “New BLM Rule Surfaces on April Fool’s Day! Biden Admin Adopts PERC Ideas-Signs of a Libertarian Turn?”

  1. Is PERC suggesting that there will be bidding wars for the same piece of federal land, and if so, the best use for the greatest number would win – rather than the one with the most money behind it? I don’t see this happening. And I don’t think that is what the BLM is trying to design; I think they are looking to attract funding for habitat improvements in important wildlife areas that are not valued for revenue-producing uses.

    Note that the way “special interest” is defined, “idealogical groups” would not include tax exempt organizations because they are acknowledged to represent the “general interest of the public” rather than “some single, reasonably small interest (e.g., industry, profession, or locality).”

    • Jon- they may be “acknowledged” to represent the “general interest of the public” but there is no way to define that that do.. folks that are for something, and folks that are against something, both get to have 501c3s.


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