The Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Policy, Management and Budget spoke to Lindenwood University students, faculty and members of the community this afternoon about a kinder, gentler Department of the Interior. Assistant Secretary Lynn Scarlett spoke on "Moving beyond Conflict: Private Stewardship and Conservation Partnerships."
Ms. Scarlett pointed out that the Department of Interior manages one in every five acres of land in the United States. It operates over 800 dams and irrigation facilities that provide drinking water to 31 million people and irrigate lands that generate 60 percent of America’s vegetables. Furthermore, its Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act.
The old way of managing these resources often involved what Assistant Secretary Scarlett called the 3 P’s: prescription, process and punishment. Obey the one-size-fits-all rules, fill out the paperwork and be prepared to be punished if you step out of line.
The new vision embraces the 4 Cs – conservation through cooperation, communication, and consultation. This approach emphasizes voluntary action, partnerships, and respect for property rights. “Through conservation partnerships, the department is helping to foster a nation of citizen stewards who work together to achieve environmental results,” said Assistant Secretary Scarlett. This new framework doesn’t assure that there won’t still be conflicts but it is far more promising than the old approach to managing these vast federal land holdings.
One major policy change involves moving budget expenditures from land acquisition to private stewardship grants to landowners, tribes, and others. This shift in policy is not greeted with enthusiasm by everyone. In a June 9 New York Times article, Paul Hansen, executive director of the Izaak Walton League said: “Her [Secretary Gale Norton’s] record is mixed. She moved the largest annual increase in refuge funding over the past 20 years, but she is resistant to establishing new fish and wildlife refuges.”
Scarlett’s talk was the fifth address in Lindenwood’s new Economic Policy Lecture Series. The event was co-hosted by the Institute for Study of Economics and the Environment and the Divisions of Management and of Science.
Contact: Dr. Kenneth W. Chilton, Director of ISEE and Associate Professor of Management. 636-949-4742