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ATTENTION: Ed Weiler



    From: R. Illig
    
    Sorry to send to the list, but a direct e-mail address for Ed 
    Weiler was not available at this writing.
    
    Ed,
    
    Although I'm willing to offer any insights and/or assistance which 
    my position allows, and I greatly appreciate your comments 
    regarding my message about "confidentiality", I'm not sure just 
    how helpful I can actually be.  I'm just a low-level backwoods 
    P2'er.
    
    I am slightly aware of current efforts with the SBDC's.  To answer 
    your question about "what kind of shield exists", if I understand 
    you correctly (P2 vs regulatory approaches?), my answer would be, 
    "respect for the integrity of a sound relationship"...which is 
    next to no shield at all.
    
    In other words, businesses will be shielded as long as it is 
    advantageous to government to do so.  Public demand for tighter 
    laws which has (inadvertently?) led to a serious problem of 
    REGULATORY MICRO-MANAGEMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT; outcrys from 
    environmental groups that government has "rolled over" for 
    business; legal pressures that existing laws are not being 
    uniformly enforced; government pressures that business MAY achieve 
    some undetermined level of protection through self-regulation and 
    disclosure; and the potential for enforcement coming from a 
    variety of levels, not just the state gov environmental dept., all 
    add up to -AND IN MY OPINION- a very unstable foundation for 
    either business or government to rely on.  On a day-to-day basis, 
    the size of the problem, who knows about it, and was the coffee 
    good and hot that morning may all make a difference.
    
    Anything short of an all-out "amnesty"-type decree for business, 
    especially when a demonstrated high level of proactive compliance 
    (which I'd say is in most cases) can be shown, will be very 
    inadequate when addressing this problem.  The "failsafe" in an 
    amnesty scenario, similar to the regular justice system (not 
    currently very popular), would have to be "innocent until proven 
    guilty".  Otherwise, liability issues are simply too overpowering.  
    (There will always be "environmental losses".  Why alienate 
    business in the first place only then to put out the hand of 
    friendship??)
    
    The businesses that do buy in currently, generally the larger 
    ones, seem to benefit more by...better payback (or less losses 
    depending on your viewpoint) through smaller enforcement fines; 
    better profit through favorable public perception; a dedicated 
    environmental staff; much higher liability concerns; and perhaps 
    an already good running record.
    
    A determined inspector can almost always find a violation.  The 
    argument, "that an inspection is more of an evaluation of the 
    powers of observation and regulatory knowlegde of the inspector, 
    rather than an evaluation of a facility's level of compliance" 
    seems to hold water rather well.  Minimizing losses is always an 
    asset for business, especially when fighting the environmental 
    aspects of a no-win scenario.
    
    Ric