What real world Property Rights could look like...
Published in January, 2018
The solution to this mess that I’ve proposed over and over is private land ownership. The people that live on that land that have homesteaded it through hunting, fishing, harvesting, trapping etc have a stronger ownership claim than anyone as far as I can see, certainly far stronger than the Crown. Planting a flag and shouting, “in the name of the Queen” does not give you title to someone else’s property, even if you have all the guns.
So step 1) recognize who the proper land owners are in this region. This would eliminate the ability of special interests (oil companies, environmental lobby etc) to control resource acquisition and development and put it squarely in the hands of the property owners. Want to live a subsistence life style in deer skin teepees and minimal environmental impact that is your prerogative. Want to extract resources and live like Saudi kings, that’s your prerogative.
Here’s what I’d do if I owned that land. I’d want to pass it along to my kids so they could enjoy it in its wild beauty. I’d want them to be able to hunt, trap, hike, fish, enjoy nature the way I did. And I’d want to extract resources from it so that we could raise our standard of living and live longer, healthier lives with more opportunities.
I’d strike an agreement with an oil company to responsibly extract resources from my property. The agreement would require that they have billions of dollars in escrow to avoid the problem this article highlights, this money would ensure I’d be able to return the land to a pristine state of nature after resources are extracted if the company goes bankrupt or doesn’t live up to its end of the bargain and I terminate the contract. I’d have them extract resources in small blocks so that my family and I could enjoy the majority of the wilderness we owned. I’d require that they return each block of resource extraction to a pristine state of wilderness before allowing them to extract from another area. I’d also require the oil company to pay for intense environmental pollutant testing by a third party of my choosing. I’d want to ensure that the fish my kids pull out of the river and the deer they hunt are free of any contaminants. There would be serious consequences if they polluted my property.