via Grist, we hear that environmentalists have "given in"
Environmental groups dropped their opposition to two different coal-fired power plant expansion projects in Wisconsin and Texas this week after the utilities agreed to a range of concessions designed to limit the environmental impacts of the plants.
"We've been fighting for more than seven years ... It's time to put this [plant] behind us and focus on the other ones that are in the pipeline," said Bruce Nilles of the Sierra Club.
Although some were quick to condemn the compromise between enviro and power utilities, they are too naive. In a world of extremes, there would be no power plants (e.g., Malibu) OR many, polluting power plants (e.g., China). In a more-reasonable world, interest groups negotiate to find a common ground where there is some pollution but too much. Such compromise is helpful, because the world of extremes is too costly in terms of opportunity foregone or environment destroyed.
As Coase said, assign property rights and then let parties negotiate. With these agreements, the environmental organizations -- representing citizens and Nature -- have made a deal with the power generators that represent power consumers. Better that than continued gridlock. (I'm wondering who had the property rights, and I'd put my money on the enviros, who had the ability to block new plants nearly indefinitely.)
Bottom Line: Life is about tradeoffs. It's easy to live without pollution if you are willing to do everything with the tools that Nature has given you (sun, muscles, nuts and berries), but if you want more comfort, you have to use some resources. Even more important, other people want to use resources, and it's not easy to stop them. Compromise and move on.
Also at Aguanomics today: