An Ohio man has pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Air Act by releasing a refrigerant into the air during the theft of dozens of air conditioning units.Actually, I am sure how I feel about this. I don't like it. I don't like it one bit. You see, at first, I thought, hey, great. They caught this scumbag stealing people's air conditioners last summer. I'll take a WAG that, since he was just cutting them loose, he was selling them for scrap metal, most likely to fuel a drug, alcohol, or gambling problem. Cops finally catch him, and they really want to nail him good, so they start digging, and bingo.
Federal prosecutors say Martin Eldridge and others stole at least 49 units between August and October last year, releasing the refrigerant when tubing that connected units to houses and businesses was cut.
I mean, I like putting away thieving scumbags as much as the next guy.
Problem is, I don't like the precedent this sets. I really don't think the Clean Air Act was designed to be an add-on charge to some lowlife stealing air conditioners. Is it much of a stretch to say that someone that steals a car and then wrecks it is also guilty of releasing refrigerant into the atmosphere? Or, extrapolating, that if you glance down at the radio for a second, rear-end the guy in front of you and break your AC condenser, that they won't be hauling you off for a stint in FedPen over a violation of the Clean Air Act?
I think this hands the FedGov *WAY* too big of a sledgehammer to deal with an ant problem...
That is all.
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(image courtesy of Robb Allen)