Despite the rhetoric, regulatory reforms thus far hold little promise of authentic relief. This is especially true in the volatile realm of environmental protection. A measure of this lacuna may stem from various conceptual muddles in the burgeoning reform literature. This literature generally extolls certain "market" mechanisms and efficiency devices (e.g. cost-benefit analysis) without fully addressing the larger issues of social utility. This discussion explores these problems and forwards a reform strategy based upon an adaptive learning approach.