Shoot, shovel, and shut up : an analysis of several potential means of endangered species protection in an agricultural landscape
Dierker, Daniel Anton
The purpose of this study is to examine the impacts that legislation protecting endangered species will have on agricultural practices in Saskatchewan. This project will focus on endangered species in pastureland. A second objective will be to provide alternative methods of achieving species protection other than those outlined in Bill C-65 of the Second Session of the Thirty fifth Parliament, the Canadian Endangered Species Act (the Bill), one of which alternatives will be the Saskatchewan Wildlife Act (the Sask. Act). Hyperbole and hysteria on both sides characterize the current debate about the effects of the Bill on farmers and ranchers in Saskatchewan. That the Bill could have affected farmer's and rancher's costs and thus management decisions is certain; as by received economic theory anything that affects an economic agent's costs or profits will affect that agent's decision making. This study assesses the extent of these costs by resorting to the price necessary to bribe farmers/ranchers to increase habitat. The Bill's purpose is the protection of bio diversity through the conservation of endangered species which is to be achieved by a species by species procedure which mirrors the one adopted by the United States under the Endangered Species Act 1973 (the Act). This study's results suggest that the Bill and the Act share an institutional framework that is sufficiently similar to suggest that only a difference in the perception of the social costs of noncompliance would alter the results witnessed in the United States. That is, if Canada had enacted the Bill it appears that given the similarities between Canada's and the United States' systems of governing and law enforcement from a decision maker's perspective that the apparent disregard for the Act in the United States might be expected to exist in Canada, unless Canadian's have a social cost structure that is different from the social cost structure of residents of the United States. The analysis of the survey results suggests that such a difference in social costs does not appear to exist. The study explores a system of more generally protecting habitat and concludes that in order to do so effectively will require the expenditure in Saskatchewan of between twenty and forty million dollars per year on the part of the government. Effective habitat protection is also going to require the passing of legislation granting a Minister of the Crown discretionary authority to determine what should be protected where. Accompanying this discretion legislative action is also going to be necessary to change public interest standing and intervenor rules. Frivolous and vexatious actions against the Minister should be controllable through legislated solicitor client cost awards, an award were the unsuccessful litigant pays the successful litigants entire legal bill.