She doesn’t get much attention from the MSM, but Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton is one of my favorite cabinet members. Under her innovative leadership, the Department is advancing “cooperative conservation,” an approach that centers on partnerships between the federal government and state governments, Tribes, community organizations, and individual citizens. For more than 30 years, environmental protection has tended to revolve around federal regulation. This approach has led to significant progress, but has also generated conflict and unintended consequences. It has been plagued, for example, by piecemeal decisions and conflicting mandates, as protection plans unfold one species at a time, or air pollution plans are crafted in isolation from plans to reduce water pollution. The new cooperative environmentalism, based on bottom-up decision-making, respect for private property, and cooperation rather than conflict, seeks to provide more integrated approaches by tapping into local expertise and partnering with entities and individuals who can help provide well-tailored environmental stewardship.
This week, the White House is holding a three-day conference on cooperative conservation in St. Louis. Jon Christensen is covering the conference. One of his posts profiles Lynn Scarlett, the assistant secretary for policy, management and budget and the former editor of Reason, who plays a major role in designing and advancing the coopertive conservation agenda.
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