How Earth Day Triggered Environmental Rent Seeking
By Bruce Yandle
This article appeared in the Summer 2013 issue of The Independent Review

In April of 1970, Congress was on the brink of passing air pollution legislation that emphasized performance-based standards, an approach designed to encourage polluters to utilize the most efficient means for meeting environmental goals. After the first Earth Day, however, lawmakers caved in to special interests who lobbied for a command-and-control approach to environmental protection that has imposed significantly higher costs, discouraged innovation, and in many cases made pollution problems worse.

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