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Re: Legal issues and EMS's



I'm not an attorney, but rather an environmental engineer who has been in the business for 26 years, an we usually end up being sort of the jail house lawyer, so here are my two cents, in bold to distinguish them. I am not shouting:

At 02:50 PM 8/2/01 -0500, Kirsten Koepsel wrote:
>One and all,
>
>The issue of the legal community not supporting implementation of EMS's in
>companies has raised it's head.
>
>I would like to hear from environmental lawyers on this list as to why they
>would not or do not recommend that their clients implement an ISO 14000
>system.
>
>The reasons I have heard to date are:
>
>"advising against it because of the legal system in this country"
This is largely a valid point. The United States is extremely litigious, and public disclosure of process information or information that indicates non-compliance with laws or statutes could lead to legal action from any number of sources
>
>"EPA's published positions"-apparently not considering the Performance
>Track program or the fact that many states have legislation on permitting
>benefits for companies that have an EMS in place
The positions of various enforcement branches and state's attornies on anything resembling audit priveldge is quite clear, they don't like it and don't like to grant it
>
>"potential exposure by public exposure" -excuse me, alot of this info is
>already available from reports to state or federal agencies and is considered
>public info
alot of it also is not, or would be difficult to find if not presented on a silver platter in the form of a public report
>
>"potential public release of aspects and impacts-could become potentially
>effective under a  current revision of the standard"
If you are saying that they could part of a revision to a regulation and thus binding and subject to legal action, yes, they could. Similar things have happened
>
>"patent issues"
A completely valid concern

Don't get me wrong, I think EMS's are a great idea overall (I have gone so far as to take ISO 14001 lead auditor training), and can be very helpful in maintaining environmental complaince and stewardship at industrial facilities. Some of the public involvement/disclosure aspects of ISO 14000 are quite disturbing to an attorney whose charge is to give advice which is in the best interests of his/her client. They often advise not to disclose any information about the company which is not legally required. Once the information is out, you have no idea how it might be used.

The legal arguments you seemed to be presenting as invalid or lame in some way are in fact quite compelling. As I said at the beginning, it's just my two cents. I may just be a little grumpy today. :-)

Best Regards,

Dan Kraybill
>
>I would appreciate hearing any real arguments from the legal community.
>
>Kirsten
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>Kirsten M. Koepsel
>Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center
>7300 Jack Newell Blvd., South
>Fort Worth, TX  76118
>
>817-272-5925
>817-307-0595 (cell)
>817-272-5977 (fax)
>kkoepsel@arri.uta.edu (e-mail)
>