Utah State University

How Good Intentions Backfire: Negative Effects of Federal Environmental Policies

landscape-mountains-nature-rocksOctober 1, 2016


Federal policymakers have been enacting environmental laws for decades to preserve environmental quality and promote human health, but some outcomes from these laws have been economically or environmentally harmful. This report examines how and why negative consequences arise from seemingly good environmental laws.

The report examines the political process of creating environmental policies. Case studies included in the report include:

  • The Wilderness Act
  • The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • The Clean Air Act
  • The Clean Water Act
  • The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)
  • The Energy Policy Act of 2005


The report also includes a section on how market-based approaches to environmental problem-solving could prevent or eliminate the problems resulting from these laws.

Read the Full Report here.

Read the Condensed Report here.

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