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Your Views: Law isn’t applied equally to our energy producers

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August 26, 2014

Does equal protection mean the same law applies to everyone? I would suggest, it depends.

As I understand the current environmental energy world, there are two basic boxes of thinking. Box One is all things carbon based, such as coal and oil, which are very bad. Box Two represents all things good, such as wind and solar.

If your business is in Box One, that’s nasty. For example, the federal government fined Exxon Mobile $600,000 for 85 migratory bird deaths in five states over five years, apparently for exposure to hydrocarbons at some of the company’s natural gas facilities across the Midwest. That’s about $7,000 per bird.

But Box Two solar is very good, so apparently we can forgive the estimated 28,000 bird deaths per year at the BrightSource solar plant in California. Now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is pushing for a more accurate calculation of the deaths before California grants the company more permits for similar solar plants. Bird death penalties are not apparently part of the regulatory mix by either the feds or the state of California.

Also, “More than 573,000 birds are killed by the country’s wind farms each year, including 83,000 hunting birds such as hawks, falcons and eagles,” according to an estimate published in March in the peer-reviewed Wildlife Society Bulletin.

Equal protection seems to depend on which box your money is located.

JOHN LUKAN

Janesville



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