Conservatives tend to blame government for the vast maze of environmental regulations that make doing things next to impossible. There is a deeper problem than government.
The modern world is different than the world of a century ago. The world has more people so it's more crowded. It's harder to do anything without someone complaining that it's too close to their backyard.
The technology we have, today, is a lot more powerful than in the past. Business can potentially do a lot more harm.
A third factor is that safety and environmental expectations are higher today. In the past people lived with smog, unsafe working conditions and so forth with less complaint. Today's expectations are higher; except for maybe a glaring loophole caused by the automobile. People still take for granted the traffic death toll while other safety rules are more stringent. The automobile is grandfathered in.
Another thing that is different, today, than in centuries past, is how much awareness we have of things that could be harmful in our environments. Contaminants in the air and water can be measured in the "1 part per millions" range. Even trace amounts of things make modern people nervous.
These big changes, between modern society and the past, are the main factor. The government is mostly just a scapegoat; like folks barking up the wrong tree.
Yes, private enterprise can be more innovative than government, in some cases; for instance Space X (a private firm) has done some things in space that NASA hasn't been able to accomplish. Still, NASA has done some innovative stuff as well.
The way an organization is set up, whether private or government, is a factor, but the big factor is the fact that we live in a more modern and crowded world than we did in past centuries. Population, technologies, awareness and expectations are different these days.