Environmental Protection Legislation and Regulation

National and international environmental laws and regulations are relatively new phenomena. For centuries, conflicts over land and water use were resolved at local levels, either informally or in courts of law. But since the Industrial Revolution, increasing numbers of humans, new technologies, and rising levels of consumption have seriously degraded natural resources, have created costly and negative consequences for many, and are even likely to have altered the earth's climate. Acid rain, Love Canal, the wreck of the Exxon Valdez, and Bhopal provide well-known examples of business activities that have imposed involuntary costs on others. Degradation of natural resources (depleting fisheries and forests, desertification, ozone depletion, aquifer and wetland losses) is not a new phenomenon, but the pace of consumption, population growth, and new technology ...

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