"When a gasoline spill and fiery explosion killed three young people in Washington state, officials announced a record penalty against a gas pipeline company: $3 million to send the message that such tragedies 'must never happen again.'
What happened next with these no-nonsense enforcement efforts? Not much. The pipeline tab was eventually reduced by 92 percent, the labs' assessments were waived as soon as they were issued, and the mine penalties largely went unpaid."
Do you suppose corporate entities are elevated in the eyes of Bushies in particular, but all Republicans in general? And if you really want to feel like 1984 has arrived, check out this cute little anecdote:
"The Energy Department routinely issues substantial fines it isn't even allowed to collect.
Federal law exempts the national nuclear laboratories from most financial liability, but the Energy Department has issued some $2.5 million in fines against Los Alamos, Livermore and Argonne national laboratories since 2000. The fines — issued and waived in the same sentence — involved 31 different workers who inhaled or touched radioactive or toxic materials.
Even so, the Energy Department includes the fines in its annual reports to Congress and often announces them in press releases."
Amount of Unpaid Federal Fines Up Sharply - Yahoo! News: