About 2,500 manatees have perished in Florida over the last four years, heightening tension between conservationists and property owners as federal officials prepare to decide whether to down-list the creature to threatened status.
Conservationists say the deaths are evidence of the vulnerability of the walrus-like mammals, which were included on the endangered species list in 1967 because of boat collisions and destruction of sea grasses in the shallow coastal inlets they inhabit.
But owners of waterfront property and businesses filed a lawsuit in April in federal court accusing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of failing to adhere to its own 2007 recommendation that down-listing is warranted because there are now more manatees than ever.
“Environmentalists want to turn the entire Crystal River into a sanctuary, which would hurt our clientele,” said Christina Martin, a Pacific Legal Foundation lawyer representing property owners in the case.
This is one of the two toughest arguments any active environmentalist will face in their career: “Environmental protection violates my property rights." The other tough argument is: "Environmental protection will cost hundreds of jobs."
There are a ton of techniques to overcome these objections (going to law school doesn’t hurt, though it’s damned expensive). The best way is to work together. I know, I know, cats and dogs, democrats and republicans, heaven and hell. But you’d be surprised at how easy it is to work together so long as each side agrees to listen to one another.
There are two books I recommend that can help you functionally overcome these objections. Both of these books start by insisting you build a strong foundation of negotiation skills. The first is Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, the other is Overcoming Obstacles in Environmental Policymaking.They’ll also serve you well in other contexts.