Which makes for further exploration of what is meant by terms such as "environment" and "draconian".
The "environment" might refer to a particular habitat or ecological niche, or an ecosystem of connected habitats, which could extrapolate to the biosphere of the planet. All habitats are linked and experience the knock-on effects of changes to each other, though not all habitats suffer (or benefit) from changes to other habitats in the same way.
The deep ocean, for example, is less immediately effected by a rise in sea level than a system of coastal sand dunes - stands to reason. However, ocean acidification linked to factors that also lead to a rise in sea level might well effect the deep ocean more than the sand dunes (as a rather brute example - in reality there will be many such links, most of them almost imperceptably subtle).
It is very easy to think of particular niches that are in pressing danger due to the impact of a man made event. Three similar but different ones might be:
1) The Mexican Gulf (man made oil spill).
2) The Aral Sea (man made dessication resulting from irrigation).
3) The Gyre (man made soup of particles of plastic).
Each of these is a habitat that is very clearly under current pressure from things that, had we different sets of behaviours in regard to the delicacy with which we treat the environment in general, might not exist.
The risk to human health and prosperity depends to a degree on subjective judgements regarding what people are motivated by or happy about. So whilst there are some clear objective health benefits to things like clean air laws or waste management - I would think most people acknowledge that not everyone is moved in the same way by news of the same threat even if they believe in it.
For example, it's fairly easy to understand why a Louisianan fisherman might be upset about the Deepwater rig explosion and find it a threat to his livelihood - even if he doesn't really care about environmental damage per se.
Whereas a person who feels impoverished by the extinction of species might find what is happening in the Gyre much more upsetting, even though it hasn't had such a discernable impact on people's livelihoods (though he may well stress that it is trouble brewing).
So "the extent to which the environment is at risk" query will vary from person to person depending on what they care about. I'm a keen amateur zoologist, so I care about what happens in the Gyre because it is resulting in fewer types of animal and plant to wonder at and I believe it will have a negative knock on effect to neighbouring ecosystems. My desire to prevent such things is partly aesthetic - it strikes me as vandalism of something I find beautiful - but also practical because I am aware of issues impacting on human welfare that are being caused or exacerbated by an ocean full of floating rubbish.
Therefore whether laws to stop environmental damage are draconian or not will depend on:
1) How much a person has vested into appreciation of the environment (emotional, economic and health related investments will all count).
2) What the law actually is.
3) Whether or not the law addresses the damage in perception and fact.
For example, a given person might feel in support of all, some or none of the following laws:
1) A moratorium on whaling.
2) A moratorium on deep sea drilling for oil.
3) Laws obliging recycling.
4) Clean air laws (with have more obvious aspects concerning human health too of course).
5) Tax breaks for renewable energy concerns.
6) Laws to encourage or discourage nuclear energy.
7) Waste management regulations (again with a more direct human health impact).
8) Cap and trade laws.
9) Laws regulating use of fertilisers and pesticides.
10) and so on and so on and so on....
All these laws can be implemented to various degrees, so to dismiss them out of hand as draconian is going to alarm those who fear for the future sustainability of human propserity due to our impact on the environment at both micro and macro level.
Only a good knowledge of the issues at hand, as well as a reasoned risk analysis, gives one the perspective to decide what degree of regulation is going to solve the problem (bearing in mind that the problem will always be a somewhat subjective issue - if you don't care about whaling you don't care about whaling) and therefore whether "draconian" measures are necessary or not.