Contracting for Control of Landscape-Level Resources

Author:Karen Bradshaw Schulz & Dean Lueck
Position:Associate Professor of Law, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University/Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Arizona
Pages:2507-2549
SUMMARY

Environmental governance increasingly focuses on public– private partnerships. We focus on contracting as a subset of the role of private actors governing landscape-level resources—such as wildlife habitats, scenic vistas, and firescapes—that exceed individual parcel sizes and are thus difficult for individual landowners to control unilaterally. Numerous contractual arrangements have emerged to... (see full summary)

 
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2507
Contracting for Control of Landscape-
Level Resources
Karen Bradshaw Schulz & Dean Lueck
ABSTRACT: Environmental governance increasingly focuses on public–
private partnerships. We focus on contracting as a subset of the role of private
actors governing landscape-level resources—such as wildlife habitats, scenic
vistas, and firescapes—that exceed individual parcel sizes and are thus
difficult for individual landowners to control unilaterally. Numerous
contractual arrangements have emerged to exert coordinated control over
landscape-level resources. We hypothesize that variations in laws and
transaction costs, which are controlled largely by the homogeneity of
landowner preferences across fragmented parcels, drive private control of
landscape-level resources. In the absence of effective private control,
government agencies may assume control of the landscape-level resources. A
series of case studies discusses how law shapes the conditions that favor
private contracting regimes of landscape-level resources, which highlight
broader themes of law as a catalyst for new governance.
Associate Professor of Law, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State
University.
 Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Arizona.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the comments provided by George J. Busenberg, Robert
Fischman, Christine Klein, Rhett Larson, Yael R. Lifshitz Go ldberg, Troy Rule, and Eric Singer.
We benefitted from the contributions by the participants of the Spontaneous Order and
Emergence of New Property Systems of Property Workshop at New York University School of Law,
the Politics and Economics of Wildfire Policy Conference at University of California, Santa
Barbara, and the Junior Faculty Retreat at Arizona State University College of Law. We appreciate
the research assistance provided by Lauren A. Ferrigni and library services provided by Beth
DeFelice.
2508 IOWA LAW REVIEW [Vol. 100:2507
I. INTRODUCTION ........................................................................... 2509
II. LANDSCAPE GOVERNANCE .......................................................... 2513
A. CONTRACT AS A MECHANISM FOR PUBLIC–PRIVATE
ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE ............................................. 2513
B. LANDSCAPE-LEVEL RESOURCES ............................................... 2514
C. GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT OF LANDSCAPES ........................ 2519
1. Legislation ................................................................... 2520
2. Common Law .............................................................. 2522
3. Executive and Agency Control ................................... 2523
III. EXAMPLES OF LANDSCAPE-LEVEL RESOURCES ............................ 2524
A. BIOLOGICAL LANDSCAPES: WILDLIFE AND MARINE FISHERIES .. 2524
B. UNDERGROUND LANDSCAPES: OIL–GAS AND GROUNDWATER ... 2526
C. THE SCENIC AND RECREATIONAL LANDSCAPE ......................... 2528
IV. CONTRACTING TO MANAGE THE WILDFIRE LANDSCAPE ............. 2529
A. OVERVIEW OF THE CASE STUDIES ............................................ 2530
B. COMMERCIAL TIMBERLANDS—PUBLIC AND PRIVATE .............. 2533
1. Contracting Between Private Commercial Timberland
Owners ......................................................................... 2533
2. Contracting Between Private and Public Commercial
Timberland Owners .................................................... 2534
C. WILDLAND URBAN INTERFACE AREAS ..................................... 2535
1. Southern California Homeowners ............................. 2535
2. The Four Forests Restoration Initiative ..................... 2537
D. CATTLE RANCHERS ............................................................... 2539
1. Wildfire and Texas Cattle Ranching .......................... 2540
2. Malpai Borderlands Group ......................................... 2542
V. FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS ...................................................... 2543
A. FINDINGS .............................................................................. 2543
1. Capacity of Private Parties to Manage Large
Landscapes ................................................................... 2544
2. Influence of Law on Landscape Governance ............ 2545
B. IMPLICATIONS ....................................................................... 2547
VI. CONCLUSION .............................................................................. 2548
2015] CONTRACTING FOR CONTROL OF RESOURCES 2509
I. INTRODUCTION
Policy discussions increasingly envision a role for private actors in a wide
variety of governance contexts.1 Growing awareness that industry actors and
nongovernmental organizations play vital leadership roles in the
development of law and policy call traditional notions of the government as a
unilateral decisionmaker into question.2 Environmental law is a particularly
fertile ground for studying public–private approaches.3 Collaborative
1. See Kenneth W. Abbott & Duncan Snidal, The Governance Triangle: Regulatory Standards
Institutions and the Shadow of the State, in THE POLITICS OF GLOBAL REGULATION 44, 70–71 (Walter
Mattli & Ngaire Woods eds., 2009) (discussing standard bargaining and public–private
governance arrangements); Orly Lobel, The Paradox of Extralegal Activism: Critical Legal
Consciousness and Transformative Politics, 120 HARV. L. REV. 937, 983 (2007) (explaining that non-
state actors play an important role in areas of management once thought to be controlled solely
by state actors). See generally Jody Freeman, The Private Role in Public Governance, 75 N.Y.U. L. REV.
543 (2000) (emphasizing the role of private actors in administrative regulations); Eric W. Orts
& Cary Coglianese, Debate, Collaborative Environmental Law: Pro & Con, 156 U. PA. L. REV.
PENNUMBRA 289 (2007) (debating the proper role of private actors in determining
environmental policy); R.A.W. Rhodes, The New Governance: Governing Without Government, 44 POL.
STUD. 652 (1996) (noting a trend towards “new governance” approaches that emphasize the role
of private parties).
2. See generally Freeman, supra note 1 (describing agencies and private organizations
working together to resolve conflict).
3. Burgeoning literatures on topics including regulatory negotiation, new governance,
bottom-up approaches, and insurers as regulators benefitted from early empirical studies in
environmental law. See, e.g., WILLIAM D. LEACH, CTR. FOR COLLABORATIVE POLICY, IS DEVOLUTION
DEMOCRATIC? ASSESSING COLLABORATIVE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT 1 (2004) (proposing “a
framework for assessing devolution in terms of inclusiveness, representativeness, procedural
fairness, lawfulness, deliberativeness, and empowerment”); Jody Freeman, Collaborative
Governance in the Administrative State, 54 UCLA L. REV. 1 (1997) (using examples from
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) and the Environmental Protection
Agency (“EPA”) to argue current collaborative models are not ideal); Cameron Holley, Aging
Gracefully? Examining the Conditions for Sustaining Successful Collaboration in Environm ental Law and
Governance, 26 ENVTL. & PLAN. L.J. 457 (2009) (investigating the factors that impact long-term
success of corporate collaboration); Guy Mundlak & Issi Rosen-Zvi, Signaling Virtue? A Comparison
of Corporate Codes in the Fields of Labor and Environment, 12 THEORETICAL INQ. L. 603 (2011)
(examining motivations behind corporate social responsibility in the labor and environ mental
sectors); Haitao Yin et al., Risk-Based Pricing and Risk-Reducing Effort: Does the Private Insurance
Market Reduce Environmental Accidents?, 54 J.L. & ECON. 325 (2011) (analyzing variations in
financing of cleanup of accidental leaks from underground fuel tanks).

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