Most Americans believe that protecting the environment is a valuable goal for our society. The way that government and environmentalists have gone about achieving this goal has for the most part ignored the realities of economics. The Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act all have laudable goals. Critics of the legislation are not proextinction, prosmog, and pro–dirty water. For most, the criticism is in how these goals are achieved and not the goals themselves. Economists offer a unique perspective on the environment, and inclusion of economic principles can be used to bring about the goal of environmental protection more efficiently and with greater utility.