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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 degraded natural resources have created costly negative consequences for many and are even likely to have altered the Earth’s climate. Extensive use of fossil fuels, the manufacture of persistent organic pollutants, generation of radioactive materials, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides—all of these have their uses, but they also kill or degrade life in the name of progress and impose involuntary costs on others. Oil spills, and they are almost too numerous to count (Amoco Cadiz, 1978; Ixtoc 1, ...

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