"Improve the Environment...Leave it to the States...and the People."

Wednesday, April 20
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Becky Norton Dunlop

In her April 20, 2005 Economic Policy Lecture, Becky Norton Dunlop, Vice President for External Relations at The Heritage Foundation, spoke about five key principles for improving environmental protection. She applied these principles as Secretary of Natural Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia from 1994 to 1998.
These five principles are:

  • People are the number one natural resource. In much the same vein as the late Julian Simon, Ms. Dunlop sees the ingenuity of individual human beings as the “ultimate resource.”
  • Personnel is policy. Individuals hired to protect the environment at EPA and at state and local levels make a big difference in effectiveness of programs. The key is to hire problem solvers with diverse talents.
  • Economic growth and Environmental Improvement are Interrelated. Without a strong and growing economy, the environment suffers. Property rights, free markets, rule of law and responsible regulation are needed to produce environmental improvements.
  • Replenishable natural resources are resilient. Rather than the “balance” of nature being fragile, experience shows that habitats can be restored and species protected when incentives are properly aligned and people are free to use their ingenuity. The reforestation of America and much of Europe are modern examples.
  • Excessive federal regulations are injurious. Federal command and control regulations are typically high cost when compared with market-like approaches that focus on results. Because federal regulations tend to invite legal challenges, they also retard progress.
In the 1980s, Ms. Dunlop was a senior official in the Administration of President Ronald Reagan serving in the White House and the U.S. Department of Justice. During 1987-1989, she was Deputy Under-Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior and Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Becky Norton Dunlop presenting her thoughts on
improving the environment.

President Spellmann presenting Becky Norton Dunlop
a momento as
Dr. Ken Chilton watches.