Congress has decided the Gulf and coastal ecosystems are only "valuable" where economists can estimate their impact in the billions of dollars. Using that formula, commercial fishing operations now must be compensated. Likewise, that formula excuses the enormous risks the energy industry poses to the entire system. Indeed, groups representing you and me--recreational users-- now use the same arguments, quantifying the "value" of a healthy functioning ecosystem not for its role in the quality of our lives, but for its economic impact. You could hear and read it last week. Reporters dutifully relayed the figures: Louisiana's recreational coastal fishery, which is worth $757 million annually to the state's economy, faces a serious threat. Those specks and reds, ducks and geese, bayous, swamps and marshes require the use of boats, motors, kayaks, camps, rods, reels, leases, fuel, overnight stays, guides, marinas.