Most domestic environmental laws control the act of emitting pollutants into the environment. As a result, they do not apply squarely to negative emissions technologies (NETs) that remove ambient contaminants and do not emit pollutants themselves. As a result, current US environmental laws cannot readily govern a NET unless it has features that would typically allow regulation of a clean-up, such as ownership of the polluted resources, being at fault for polluting them or instituting projects to restore them. We should reinterpret such laws to focus on actual disruption or harm to the environment instead of using emission of pollutants as a proxy for ecological damage.
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