Rather than writing much here, I want to refer you to this perceptive article by Ezra Klein.
Klein’s two concluding paragraphs should be enough to entice you to read the whole article.
I want to say this as clearly as I can: [Rachel] Carson and Nader and those who followed them were, in important respects, right. The bills they helped pass — from the Clean Air Act to the National Environmental Policy Act — were passed for good reason and have succeeded brilliantly in many of their goals. That it’s easy to breathe the air in Los Angeles [and the Bay Area] today is their legacy, and they should be honored for it.
But as so often happens, one generation’s solutions have become the next generation’s problems. Processes meant to promote citizen involvement have themselves been captured by corporate interests and rich NIMBYs. Laws meant to ensure that government considers the consequences of its actions have made it too difficult for government to act consequentially. “It was as if liberals took a bicycle apart to fix it but never quite figured out how to get it running properly again,” Sabin writes.
I am a little surprised that Klein doesn’t mention how the Vietnam War, which has a lot of liberal fingerprints on it, also contributed to distrust of government.