Friday, January 23, 2009

Cannibalism As Spectator Sport

One couldn't help but be amused by this:

Accusing the state of failing to control industrial air pollution, environmental groups went to court yesterday to force the Maryland Department of the Environment to set new emission limits for a Baltimore trash incinerator.

The groups also threatened to sue Atlanta-based Mirant for allegedly spewing pollutants from one of its power plants in suburban Washington. The plant has been operating for years without a permit.

Activists said the actions were prompted by their frustration with the O'Malley administration for foot-dragging in dealing with pollution violations at some of the state's largest factories and power plants.

"We've just had it," said Eric Schaeffer, a former federal environmental regulator who now leads a Washington-based group, the Environmental Integrity Project. He said the two cases are part of a pattern in Maryland in which power plants and factories have been allowed to operate without pollution permits and up-to-date emission limits.
Guys like Shaeffer operate in some sort of parallel universe where rules of economics don't apply. So do guys like Governor O'Malley. The fun part comes in when politicians like O'Malley suddenly enter our universe where regulations, no matter how well intentioned, have costs and costs have economic impacts while their erstwhile buddies remain in their own special cloud cuckooland.

Can you put a little more butter on that popcorn.


Anonymous said...

"Guys like Shaeffer operate in some sort of parallel universe where rules of economics don't apply"

I think that guys like Shaeffer operate in just the opposite; they operate in reality, and they are actually the real conservatives. Unfortunately, they are trying to conserve resources that are difficult to place a price tag on.

Does anyone ever stop to think of the long-term costs of unregulated environmental contamination? Deregulation is a short-term luxury that our future generations end up paying for. How much do you think it costs to clean up a contaminated aquifer? Is it even possible? I guess you can always pipe or ship in water from elsewhere, right? Where's the economic feasibility in that?

If there was a true dollar value assigned to the long-term impacts of environmental degradation, you may be signing a different tune.

Therefore, until there is a standard price associated with a natural resource and their benefiting functions, we're just forced to use our common sense.

streiff said...


The idea that Shaeffer and his fellow travelers know what they are talking about has been disproved at most every turn starting with the Simon-Ehrlich wager.

These people are not interested in preventing environmental degradation in any sense that the average person would recognize it. The are interested in imposing their worldview on everyone else via courts and compliant regulators.

Guys like Shaeffer don't care that a low income family will not be able to keep their home warm or that people will be out of work or that businesses will move because the agenda they pursue is no less luddite in nature than that of the Flat Earth Society and as anti-human as that of PETA.

Lactteesha Jobabee said...

Anonymous is correct. Streiff is a short-sighted buffoonish blowhard.

streiff said...

I am in awe of your intellectual heft. That was a devastating argument.

Daniel said...

So, which one is Peter and which is Paul?

(Not referring to the commenters, but the article.)