Trees block solar panels, and a feud ends in U.S. court
by Felicity Barringer
Update: Here it is (h.t. dirtcrashr)
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Call it an eco-parable: one Prius-driving couple take pride in their eight redwoods, the first of them planted over a decade ago. Their electric-car-driving neighbors take pride in their rooftop solar panels, installed five years after the first trees were planted.
A snotty jet-set couple builds a McMansion next to a small pig farm, because the land is cheap. As the farm grows, they sue the pig farmer because of the noise and the smell.
Trees - redwoods, live oaks or blossoming fruit trees - are usually considered sturdy citizens of the sun-swept peninsula south of San Francisco, not criminal elements. But under a 1978 state law protecting homeowners' investment in rooftop solar panels, trees that impede solar panels' access to the sun can be deemed a nuisance and their owners fined up to $1,000 a day.
Correct me if I am wrong. Don't trees draw in and capture that deadly man-made CO2, that Al Gore has warned us about, storing it safely in their wood fiber? Don't they return valuable O2 to the environment? Don't they do this with the warm and fuzzy power of solar energy? Mr. solar panel's solar panels probably cost more to manufacture, using processes that use petroleum energy and resources, than they will pay back for years. And let's talk about energy. Do you think Mr. Solar panels solar panels are more efficient at converting solar energy than a design that nature has been tweaking and improving for billions of years?
To avoid future problems, Simitian has introduced a bill to ensure that trees planted before solar panels are installed have a right to grow in peace.
Wait a minute. What about these trees. Don't they have rights? This is California. Trees are people too.
The solar-redwoods dispute is unusual largely because it is a solar-panel owner who is mounting the challenge. Typically, solar-panel owners have to play defense.
And why should they not play defense? Look at that thing. It is the biggest eye-sore around. It is probably lowering the whole value of the neighborhood. It is an obnoxious billboard that spews the message: "Look at me! I am so conscious of the environment, I am willing to kill natural things in the environment to bring it to your attention!"
Treanor and Bissett said that after spending $37,000 on legal fees, they had no money left for an appeal. Last month, to comply with the order - even though Kumli said that he found it hard to call the trees a "nuisance" - the couple called the pruners.
Here's what I would do. By-pass the courts, they are useless Marxist tools. Go straight to the PR campaign. The neighbor with the trees should have called the Sierra club, and made a big eco-terrorist case for his floral friends. He could have sent the tree-huggers off to the corner with global warming crowd and let them duke it out, watching them burn off their booty on lawyers. It would be like putting a space heater and an air conditioner in the same small room, and challenging them to hold the temperature constant.
How Zen would that be?