Fast-Growing Redwoods Break the Law

jsilver/Flickr; hat tip: KSJ Tracker

Is it possible for a redwood tree to be an environmental menace? In the densely packed San Francisco Bay area, sparring homeowners are finding the answer is a "maybe" even when both have the planet's best interests at heart, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

On one side of the fence - in this case, a backyard fence in Sunnyvale, Calif. - are the redwood trees Richard Treanor and Carolynn Bisset planted to give their home some privacy. On the other side are the solar panels Mark Vargas installed to cut his family's power bills to almost nothing. Recently the redwood trees have grown tall enough to cast their shadows on the solar cells. Vargas went to court, and now both families are digging in their heels, despite a potential penalty of $1,000 per day for not removing the trees.

What would you do? Cut down the redwoods, or demand that Vargas suck more electricity from the power company to make up the difference? (His roof is too small to allow him to move the solar array.)

A growing tree can remove around 14 pounds of carbon from the atmosphere each year, according to a source in the article, but a solar array offsets that amount (by reducing the demand for power generation) every few days.

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