The musings of one Andrew Langer - defender of liberty, passionate protector of individual rights, foodie. (Note: Said Musings of Andrew Langer are his own, and the views represented herein are likewise his views, and not the views of any other people, entities, foodstuffs, etc [unless otherwise specifically and explicitly noted].)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The USA Today Piece...

Published in today's edition of USA Today:

Small firms deserve relief

By Andrew M. Langer

A lot of environmental regulations have a direct impact on what's released into the environment. The benefits of the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) are a lot more tangential. It's a paperwork regulation — an exercise in environmental accounting and one that, for small businesses especially, is confusing, complex and incredibly time-consuming.

What's worse, it treats the smallest of small businesses the same as it does large companies — small businesses that cannot hire the regulatory expertise needed to easily navigate the maze of TRI's requirements.

This is why the TRI program needs to be reformed: to accommodate the well-recognized disparities that exist between large and small companies.

The reforms proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency go a long way toward doing that while maintaining the core integrity of TRI. Under the proposed reforms, 99.9% of all release data being reported will still be reported, even if thresholds are raised. The reforms provide real and meaningful relief to small businesses.

TRI is supposed to report materials released into the environment. Thousands of businesses around the country release little or nothing but are nevertheless required to jump through the same hoops as if they're businesses that release, literally, tons of chemicals. This is public policy at its silliest: These businesses are emitting nothing, yet they are still required to file paperwork.
These businesses deserve some relief, and that is precisely what these reforms offer.

An even greater reform is EPA's proposal to move to some sort of "alternate year" reporting. Reporting every other year will cut the paperwork burden for small businesses in half, while still allowing for researchers and the public to have access to pertinent information.

These businesses' operations change little from year to year. They simply cannot, as critics suggest, change their practices drastically every other year in order to avoid an accurate picture of what they are releasing.

It leaves us all with the question: Is the community best served when those required to report, report nothing? The answer is no, especially when the costs associated with the program are so high.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judge, jury, executioner.

Pit, pendulum, pillory.

Telling the truth, naming the names, writing the hard and important stories ALL need to hear.

Mr. Langer, thanks for your support!

January 23, 2006 11:54 AM


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