Nobody wants to live in a world with horribly contaminated air and water. Unfortunately, government environmental protection often yields the opposite of what is promised, and even when in some cases it appears to work, it does so at enormous cost that is probably worse for the environment in the long run. This is due to the classic problem of the tragedy of the commons. When the government, accountable only to itself, “owns” a piece of land or a stretch of river, it typically treats it with much less foresight than a private steward.

Historically, states in the West took over central management of pollution standards to protect industry from being held locally liable for their pollution through the traditional legal system. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency often operates in ways that benefit the very businesses that it is supposedly regulating, all the while trampling on the property rights and commercial freedom of smaller businesses and powerless American property owners.

Restoring property rights and legal liability for the damage one causes through pollution is the path to a clean environment and a free society.

The MyGovCost Calculator’s Environment and Natural Resources category spans two federal departments: the Environment Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior. The Department of the Interior oversees United States water resources, conservation and land management activities, and recreational activities associated with federally controlled resources, whereas the Environment Protection Agency enforces regulations related to pollution control and abatement programs.

Learn more about problems pertaining to the Environment and the solutions:

“Ernest Moniz and Fracking Drive Environmentalists Off of the Rails”
Robert H. Nelson (Forbes) March 28, 2013

“Another Hockey Stick?”
S. Fred Singer (American Thinker) March 13, 2013

“Congress Should Rein in EPA”
William F. Shughart II (Clarion Ledger) January 9, 2011

“An Environment without Property Rights”
Richard L. Stroup and Jane S. Shaw (The Freeman) February 1, 1997

“Bureaucracy vs. The Environment: What Should Be Done?”
Carl P. Close, Michael Shaw, Randy T. Simmons, and David Theroux (an Independent Institute event transcript) June 28, 2006

Saving Our Environment From Washington: How Congress Grabs Power, Shirks Responsibility, and Shortchanges the People
(Book reviewed in The Independent Review) Summer 2006

“Prosperity Without Pollution”
John Semmens; March 1, 1996

See Also:

Independent Institute’s Archive on the Environment