Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Creative Free Market Environmentalism

I don't normally expect to see things to praise when I'm reading a Press-Citizen article about a liberal student organization, particularly at the law school, but I surprised myself this afternoon.

The Environmental Law Society at the UI College of Law bought one ton of sulfur dioxide emissions. Check out the story for full details -- but here's the basics: The EPA runs a Clean Air Markets program, where factories that emit pollutants into the air can purchase the rights to do so on the open market. The students purchased the rights to pollute one ton of sulfur dioxide -- thereby keeping it from being put into the atmosphere and raising the cost of the rights to others who were bidding.

UPDATE: Found the original press release from the ELS. It gets the facts a little better than the article did and in more detail.

If private individuals or groups feel strongly enough about reducing pollution to put their money where there is mouth is -- I say go for it. Maybe some other national environmental organizations could decide to spend their money on this too -- instead of, say, working to defeat Republican candidates.