The Human Impact of Red Tape
Excessive red tape can crush the dreams of young entrepreneurs and stifle innovative solutions to our most pressing environmental challenges.
“Bureaucracy is the death of all sound work.” – Albert Einstein
This week Frontier Institute launched the first of what will be an ongoing series highlighting the real stories of Montanans struggling under the burden of onerous government regulations.
Levi and Brianne Cahoon are young entrepreneurs in Seeley Lake who can tell you first-hand how excessive red tape has doomed their innovative idea to revolutionize public land management with drone technology.
Seeding new trees and spraying herbicide for noxious weeds is labor intensive work still mostly done by hand(!). This makes staying on top of the 197,000 acres of Montana state lands infested with noxious weeds that destroy our ecosystems an almost impossible task.
But the Cahoons say that drones can do the work of six people at any given time – a game changer for public land management.
Seeing the opportunity to solve a big environmental problem, Levi and his cousin David founded Cahoon Aerial Systems on May 8, 2020. It’s been almost a year and a half, and they still have no indication whether government regulators will approve their business.
The problem? Government regulations say drones can only carry up to 55 pounds. Carrying herbicide pushes Cahoon’s drones above 55 pounds, requiring exemption from traditional aircraft registration, which is a very long and complicated process for small businesses to navigate – with no guarantee of approval.
The Cahoons couldn’t afford to continue waiting for government approval. They were left with no choice but to sell their business:
“We were so excited to be able to do something a little bit newer, a little innovative, maybe something people really haven’t seen much of. Then, it’s just so discouraging not to be able to do what you had intended your business to do because of not being able to get through the process.”
The Cahoon’s story is a stark reminder of how excessive red tape can crush the dreams of young entrepreneurs and stifle innovative solutions to our most pressing environmental challenges.
Direct Specialty Care
- Rheumatologist Diana M. Girnita is one of many physicians across the country pioneering Direct Specialty Care – a form of Direct Patient Care (DPC) – in what she calls the “new era in medicine” in a recent blog post. Girnita details how paying directly for healthcare, even highly specialized care, without the interference of the government or insurance middlemen, provides benefits for both patients and physicians.
This Spring, Montana passed a Frontier Institute proposal that became the nation’s most expansive law authorizing DPC, allowing healthcare entrepreneurs of all sorts the maximum freedom to innovate with the model. Montana went further than any other state has before, opening its doors for this emerging Direct Specialty Care industry. Other states should follow Montana’s path and allow more entrepreneurs to provide solutions in health care by getting rid of the middlemen and red tape that has crippled the industry.
2. A new report says that Bozeman’s housing regulations create “barriers to the creation of new housing,” worsening the city’s affordable housing crisis. The authors recommend streamlining the regulatory code and the permitting process to be more conducive to new home development.
“We’re going to keep trying to do things better and make things in our code easier and more helpful to bringing housing online,” said Community Development Director Marty Matsen
The city’s own analysis admits that their regulations are a contributing factor to the lack of affordable housing in Bozeman. Montana’s growing areas are challenged by a fundamental lack of available homes, driving up prices for everyone. Streamlining restrictions and speeding up permitting should be a no-brainer for local officials grappling with affordable housing issues.
- An excellent piece in The Hill last week argued that more proactive forest management such as controlled burns, forest-thinning and underbrush-removal is needed mitigate the risks of severe forest fire.
“We ignore the need for better forest and wildfire management at the expense both of communities in the West and the climate,” writes Christopher Barnard, national policy director at the American Conservation Coalition.
It’s time for advocates for “climate action” to embrace active forest management. Reducing the risk of severe forest fires has clear benefits for the climate, our health, and the beautiful land we live on. Governor Gianforte has been at the forefront of this this issue, with goals to double the amount of state forest lands actively managed.