In a prime example of how voluntary offsets fail to resemble indulgences:

As someone who once sunk a shrimp boat as an act of civil disobedience, Diane Wilson was disappointed when two big environmental groups opted for a less-than risky alternative to blocking a new coal-burning power plant that’s poised to blaze in her community of Calhoun County, Texas.

If she had the time and resources, Wilson, a fourth generation fisherman and leader of the lonely environmental group Calhoun County Resource Watch, says she would have tried to “stop [the plant] dead in its tracks.”

Instead, the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition in Texas and the national watchdog organization Public Citizen ended their opposition to the plant this month. The groups agreed to drop their permit challenge of the 303-megawatt coal plant in exchange for NuCoastal Power Corporation’s commitment to offset 100 percent of its mercury and carbon dioxide emissions. The proposed plant, which will burn petroleum coke, will be located in Point Comfort, Texas.