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1outlaw

Extreme fines- Govt gone wild

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See if this makes sense to you- Keep in mind this company was an early innovator in enviromental improvements and efficiency improvements. Also an early supporter of E85 stations and supply--they put in this biomass fluidized bed burner to power their plant rather than use natural gas;

 

http://www.wctrib.com/event/article/id/65582/

 

"CVEC to pay MPCA $120K in fines for gasifier violation

BENSON — Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company of Benson must pay $120,000 in fines to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency as part of an agreement over alleged violations involving its gasifier system.

 

BENSON — Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company of Benson must pay $120,000 in fines to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency as part of an agreement over alleged violations involving its gasifier system.

 

CVEC reported Tuesday that the MPCA has accused it of unclear record keeping and tardy performance testing of its regulated emission control equipment. The primary focus of the agreement is a self-reported incident in which an unallowed feedstock was included as fuel for the gasifier.

 

According to CVEC, it reported to the MPCA that what likely amounted to one adulterated, 8-foot long two-by-four had been chipped and shredded into a 20-ton load of wood used as fuel in the gasifier.

 

“CVEC agrees with MPCA that this should not have occurred,’’ General Manager Mike Jerke said in a statement announcing the stipulation agreement with the agency. “We do not agree with the magnitude of the penalty.’’

 

The company said it agreed to pay the civil penalty to put the matter at rest, but it “strongly disagrees’’ with the conclusions drawn by MPCA.

 

The agreement requires CVEC to pay $70,000 in cash and submit a proposal for a supplemental environmental project for at least an additional $50,000.

 

“CVEC cares deeply about being a good steward of the environment. That philosophy is part of our culture. While missing a set calendar date for a stack test or having unclear records may not have a direct adverse impact on the environment, it is nonetheless, unacceptable. As a company, we expect better,’’ Jerke stated.

 

The company’s gasification system is the first of its kind and has won the company attention for developing biomass fuels.

 

The gasifier uses corn cobs harvested from the fields of CVEC members as well as wood scraps to produce a natural gas substitute to fire boilers at the plant. The process reduces the reliance on fossil fuel. The company said its own voluntary testing of the biomass char left after gasification led it to conclude one of its wood suppliers had shipped a load that contained adulterated wood that was painted or treated.

 

CVEC alerted MPCA and concluded the amount of adulterated wood was one two-by-four.

 

The company said it took steps to mitigate the issue and is convinced there was no appreciable impact on the environment.

"

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typical...

 

the fact that they self reported such a trivial small error... should be commended, rather then fined...

 

they simply stated... "something doesn't look right in the test results, lets' look into it... found the problem, found it to be small... worked with the supplier to assure that it doesn't happen in the future..."  this should have been the end of the story.

 

Fines IMHO should be for when companies hide grievous faults, attempt to minimize them, then make no effort to fix the problem...

 

this doesn't sound like this was the case.

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We do not know what was going on behind the scenes- perhaps CVEC got a new guy who did not fully understand the requirements and was running a bit behind in reporting leading up to this (or maybe he was never late at all). I will assure you though that large fines have turned into a new taxation for govts. It is a shame to see companies who historically been in the lead for innovation be fined in such a way. Kind of makes companies say it is not worth investing in our future. :(

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That sort of thing has been going on for years. A company I worked for asked OSHA to inspect their plant to be sure they were in full compliance. He found a few fire extinguishers were mounted a foot too low and a few other trivial deviations from the regs like a couple signs that were not right. Instead of patting the company on the back for trying to be sure they were with in the letter of the law OSHA sent them a very expensive notice of failure to comply with signing and fire extinguisher placement.

 

Government agencies (especially self funded agencies that get their revenue from fines) are notorious for that sort of slap in the face behavior. The solution is to publicize it far and wide and make them spend $120,000 providing materials and briefings to reporters explaining why they are idiots.

 

When it costs them more in public uproar than they get from those sort of punitive fines, they will either stop doing that, or they will find legislative action mandating lenient treatment of self reported incidents of trivial impact.

 

Larry

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That sort of thing has been going on for years. A company I worked for asked OSHA to inspect their plant to be sure they were in full compliance. He found a few fire extinguishers were mounted a foot too low and a few other trivial deviations from the regs like a couple signs that were not right. Instead of patting the company on the back for trying to be sure they were with in the letter of the law OSHA sent them a very expensive notice of failure to comply with signing and fire extinguisher placement.

 

Government agencies (especially self funded agencies that get their revenue from fines) are notorious for that sort of slap in the face behavior. The solution is to publicize it far and wide and make them spend $120,000 providing materials and briefings to reporters explaining why they are idiots.

 

When it costs them more in public uproar than they get from those sort of punitive fines, they will either stop doing that, or they will find legislative action mandating lenient treatment of self reported incidents of trivial impact.

 

Larry

 

I agree it has been going on a long time- however- I have seen what happens when you counter them. They come back with new rules and a new fine tooth comb and even tip off outside groups and other govt bodies to "have at you".  It is hard to fight city hall. Yes- they are counting on you to roll over but are ready when you don't.

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Yes, unfortunately too many government employees do not live in reality.  These sort of things are like a game to them.  Also, bringing in revenue in whatever form is a bonus.  And like hotrod hinted at--the Mafia or a regime.  Very immature.

 

The show "Parks and Recreation" is a good reference for someone wanting to learn what goes on in local government.  Then travel to Washington D.C. to see it taken to an extreme (start at 1 1st Street, head down Constitution (what a farce), and continue to 1600 Pennsylvania).  Watch the wheels get greased and the taxpayers get hosed.  We all get ridiculous fines--they're called taxes (obviously a few specific taxes make sense).

 

Hey government workers--try to build our nation like the private sector does--don't hinder us!!

 

That $120,000 fine could have helped make a lot more ethanol--or even installed E85 or blender pumps.  The government giveth, and the government taketh, taketh away.

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Most folks unaware of the caustic reality to regulation. The general public gets educated or indoctrinated to wonderful caretakers or gate keepers of the environment; that would be federal employees.  These folks can do no wrong....they are public servants unhindered from corrupt profit motive. The youth are so energized upon reading or hearing historical horror story after horror story of bad businessmen polluting the environment for profit, that they make themselves into little activist militia men.  Now, all this is clever politics, but we now more than ever need intelligent governance. We need to be smarter with government regs and not mindless. We should support open market activity, make it easier to compete, and easier to comply with regs.  This approach to conformance will be more productive to overall improvement to environment. We all want better results and low environmental cost. Government should be a resource for this, not just the intimater, henchmen, with IRS gestapo powers of law. Remember the founders designed the government to farther the enjoyment of citizens. Not to be a intimater, but a friend. The government should always review its practices for minimal intrusion to private citizens freedom enjoyment with the maximum benefit.

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