Thursday, March 26, 2009

Suing over clean air

Here (PR Newswire story posted on MSN Money about parents suing corporations over air quality) is another one of those conflicts that fills my soul every day. Is industry responsible for the environmental quality surrounding its manufacturing plants?

The answer is an unequivocal yes, in my opinion. Environmental stewardship, Employee safety, Exemplary quality, Unequaled customer service & Stable profitability should be the hallmarks of US manufacturing. Unfortunately, all too often it is not. This is in part due to corporate irresponsibility and in part due to US citizen (individual human) irresponsibility.

Corporate irresponsibility takes many forms... didn't see the drum of toxins leak into the river, didn't know it was toxic, didn't care that it was toxic, figured it was someone else's problem, third world does it and we need to compete... ad nauseum.

US citizen (individual human) irresponsibility takes primarily two forms... I want it the cheapest I can get it and the cheapest comes from places without our rules AND as long as it is not in my backyard, I really don't care. People just don't realize how tightly tied to manufacturing, most of our jobs really are. So for all of you out there pointing fingers at "bad" manufacturers, take a look around your house and tell me how many Made in China - Taiwan - Singapore - Pakistan tags you see. Then, point the fingers at yourself as well.

And now, for the cynicism... One part successful ambulance chasers + one and one-half parts governmental stooge + one part indignant media + one-half parts injured citizen = corporate earnings to take a beating + additional case precedent set for air quality lawsuits.

I wonder how much of this stems from the EPA's new stance (John Lott's Website: EPA: Proposing to classify Carbon Dioxide as health hazard) on CO2 emissions? And I wonder when the rest of us can expect the same for the emissions of our... whatever has a "Carbon Footprint". I truly loathe that combination of words. This is going to end in taxation on cattle ranchers commensurate with the size of their herd. Might just as well bag the rest of us for our pets.

As a side note, I used to work for US Steel - Gary and lived near Lake county. If they are going after the big ones, they also need to go after the little ones.

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