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Property and Environment Research Center

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The Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) is a think tank based in Bozeman, Montana that specialises in free market environmentalism. PERC was previously known as the Political Economy Research Center.

PERC is one of the pioneers of "the approach known as free market environmentalism, which is based on the following tenets:

  • Private property rights encourage stewardship of resources;
  • Government subsidies often degrade the environment;
  • Market incentives spur individuals to conserve resources and protect environmental quality; and
  • Polluters should be liable for the harm they cause others." [1]

"We believe environmental quality can be achieved by managing our resources based on property rights, private initiative and voluntary activity. Free market environmentalism offers a genuine alternative to excessive government control and regulation," PERC argues on its website. [1]



Founded in 1980 and initially known as the Political Economy Research Center, PERC identifies itself as "the center for free market environmentalism". This use of environmentalism in connection with the language of free market economics is now commonplace with a host of similar groups, as if it were a valid form of environmentalism rather than a tactic in the overall strategy for taking control of the public's land.

PERC links to a long list of the country's most powerful right-wing foundations and organizations committed to deregulation of industry and to the privatization of public assets. PERC's basic premise is that ownership and management of land by government is bad for the environment and that private property rights lead to better "stewardship of resources". The Federal Government is depicted not as an entity "of, by, and for the people" but as something far, far away and characterized by faceless, incompetent bureaucrats.

PERC advances its agenda through policy analysis, conferences, seminars, internships, books, articles and "education".


Accessed June 2010: [2]


Staff biographies


At some point since April 2003, PERC recently underwent a name change from Political Econonomy Research Center. According to Mediatransparency, PERC under its old name, received $603,600 from Bradley Foundation and $640,775 from Olin Foundation.

Other funding has come from Sarah Scaife, JM Foundation, Lambe Foundation, McKenna Foundation, Earhart Foundation, Koch Foundation, Carthage Foundation and Castle Rock Foundation -- the guts of a force of roughly a dozen or so foundations that, since the 1960s, have coordinated their efforts toward forging national policy favorable to deregulation of industry and to privatization. According to Mediatransparency's records, PERC received $4,175,875 from all funding sources combined from 1985 to 2002.

Since 1998 PERC has received $80,000 (unadjusted for inflation) from ExxonMobil. [2]

Contact information

2048 Analysis Drive Suite A
Montana 59718
Phone 406 587 9591



  1. Property and Environment Research Center, "Who Funds PERC", accessed December 2007.
  2. Directors, Property and Environment Research Center, accessed June 13, 2010.

Other SourceWatch resources

External links

  • Governor Jeb Bush, "Governor Bush Appoints Brian S. Yablonski to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission," Media Release, Florida Governor's office, January 2, 2004.
  • Bill Berkowitz, "PERC receives Templeton Freedom Award for promoting 'enviropreneurs'," Media Transparency, March 16, 2007.
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