For all its faults one thing the Government does is protect the environment from profit-seeking corporations, right? Without government to stop them,corporations would just lay waste to the environment in pursuit of the bottom line. That's the popular view.
An investigation of history might yield some surprises.
There was a time where the courts ruled by common law and were held separately and above the government. When an industrialist polluted a stream or the air in a way that caused physical or financial harm to his neighbors, the courts would force them to pay reparations and a penalty. This in itself did a pretty good job of deterring people from polluting,
Until the latter part of the nineteenth century this form of law, where the right of every individual were considered, was successful, it stated that if you caused harm or law to another person it was your duty to restore them to their original condition and compensate them. Then, as documented by Morton J. Horowitz in his two-volume treatise named The Transformation of American Law, the legal system began to change. Industrialists went to the government to have it changed.to a more collectivist philosophy where lawyers and law makers became increasingly concerned with what was termed “the common good."
"Under the individualist view the law should protect everyone's right to life, liberty and property – which includes the right not to have your body or property damaged by the pollution of others. The new legal system however argued that no individual or group of individuals should stand in the way of the economic progress of the entire community. Therefore a few victims of pollution should not interfere with economic development prospects that would benefit "The greater good.”" (Tom Dilorenzo)
The government came back and told the people that while the factories were polluting and there would be some victims the industry served 'the common good' and therefore people just had to accept the pollution as a fact of life 'in the greater interests of society as a whole' and all those high minded phrases the left have since appropriated. When you consider history you will see that it is government that made the way for industry inflicting damage on others.