Key Points
  • Technological innovation and free market incentives have allowed us to promote economic prosperity while improving environmental health, protecting wild lands and conserving resources.
  • Contrary to the current environmental policy that begins and ends with government regulation, environmental policies that harness cooperative market-based solutions not only protect personal freedom and prosperity, but also protect environmental health, quality and values.
  • When property or market-based solutions are not possible, simple and straightforward regulation can be an effective last resort.

Listen to any news broadcast, read any press release from an environmental advocacy group or simply watch the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) propose new regulation after new regulation, and it would be nearly impossible to not come away concerned or even fearful of imminent environmental disaster. It should come as no surprise that public opinion polling shows that large majorities of Americans think environmental quality is getting worse over time, not better.

The reality of the situation, however, is that it is an amazing time to be living in the U.S. and environmental quality has hardly ever been better than it is today. Incredible breakthroughs in technology coupled with sensible environmental regulations have afforded the U.S. with, by any measurement, some of the cleanest air and water in the world post-Industrial Revolution. For instance, since 1970, aggregate national emissions of six of the most common air pollutants (collectively referred to as “criteria pollutants”) have dropped by an astounding 72 percent, on average. During this same time period, national gross domestic product has increased by 219 percent!

Sadly, this story – easily one of the most significant and remarkable in human history – is hardly ever told.

That said, there is always room for improvement, and technologies will continue to develop that will aid in these efforts. Furthermore, environmental challenges will only continue to grow as the developing world begins using greater quantities of energy to develop, thereby raising their standards of living.

With this in mind, ALEC has and will continue to provide policymakers with models that can be used to promote environmental conservation and stewardship at the state level.


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Model Policies

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Task Forces

Energy, Environment and Agriculture

The Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force operates under the principles of free-market environmentalism, that is to promote the mutually …

Press Releases

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