For several decades, federal policymakers have passed environmental laws to limit pollution, preserve environmental quality, and promote human health. Despite seemingly noble intentions, not all outcomes from these laws have been beneficial. The Institute of Political Economy (IPE) at Utah State University examined how and why negative consequences arise from what appear to be good environmental laws. IPE found that environmental laws can intentionally and unintentionally cause economic or environmental harm. Policymakers can allow markets, property rights, and common law to solve environmental issues without the shortcomings of laws and regulations.
Current government solutions for environmental issues have shortcomings, but policymakers have many tools they can use.
Policies could contain market-based incentives that would allow for unique solutions to diverse problems.
Common law and property rights promote accountability because polluters are held liable for any damage they inflict.
Free markets facilitate innovation and entrepreneurship that can help find solutions to many environmental issues.