Posthaste Facts on the Environment #13

Giant Garter Snakes Strike at the Heels of Local Tax Base

Produced December 1995

Forget the children -- save the snakes! America's future is slithering away with the cost of environmental laws.

Marvin "Buzz" Oates is being required to pay a $2,065 mitigation "snake-fee" for every acre of his property that he develops. The reason? His Sutter Basin property is the home of Giant Garter Snakes, which are listed as "threatened" under the terms of the Endangered Species Act. The California resident, owner of Buzz Oates Enterprises, has calculated that he will have to pay $3,758,000 to develop his 1,820 acres -- equal to $93,950 for every Giant Garter on his land.

There's an "opportunity cost" in every business transaction -- while Oates is spending almost $4 million to protect reptiles, the money could be used to develop his land, thereby creating jobs and expanding the local tax base. This would provide additional funding for the future of local children -- instead of local snakes. "In a fiscal age of depleted resources and depreciating school infrastructure, this is a very tough pill to swallow," wrote Oates in a memorandum to Sacramento city officials. "Dilapidated schools, lack of textbooks and materials, and school safety are all real issues that school administrators and America's families are forced to contend with. Our children and future leaders are directly competing with snakes and the snakes are winning."

Source: Marvin "Buzz" Oates, Buzz Oates Enterprises II, December 1, 1995


Posthaste Facts on the Environment #13, published by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Court, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002, 202/543-4110, Fax (202) 543-5975, E-Mail [email protected], Web http://www.nationalcenter.org. For more information about Posthaste #13 contact Bob Adams at 202/543-4110 or [email protected]

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