Often businesses complain about ridiculously tedious environmental regulation and paperwork, and they don't seem to get much sympathy. The usual opposing response is just to say "oh, you guys just are mad that you can't dump dioxin in the river any more."
But I am here to tell you -- many of the requirements are really, really detailed, time-consuming, and of questionable value. To demonstrate this, I am going to let you into my life for a minute. Among the many recreation facilities we operate (my business described here), we run a small pair of marinas on Blue Mesa Lake in Colorado. At these marinas we rent boats, have a fuel dock, and do some light boat maintenance for customers. We are renting the facility from the government (specifically the National Park Service), and as our landlord they provided all the facilities.
When we inherited the facilities from the previous tenant, they were in awful condition. We have had to spend a lot of money brining the government's facilities up to standard, removing years of hazardous waste, etc. Our reward was to get audited by the EPA and the NPS. For those of you who are interested in what environmental regulation looks like to a small business, you may view a pdf of our audit results. You can't possibly read everything, but skim through the findings to get the general idea. And as you are reading, note that this is a GOOD audit -- we were actually commended in Washington for the work we had done cleaning up the place. And still this work list remains. Remember also while reading this that I don't run a chemical plant or a steel mill, this is a small marina on a lake.
For those who don't want to scoll through all 52 items, here is one, chosen at random:
Each container of hazardous chemicals in the workplace was not labeled, tagged, or marked with the following information:
- Identity of the hazardous chemical(s) contained therein; and
- Appropriate hazard warnings.
- A white plastic bucket was observed with no label in the flammable cabinet at the maintenance yard;
- Three unlabeled 55-gallon drums were observed at the maintenance yard, one of which had a sign of leakage;
- An unlabeled plastic white bottle was observed on one of the blue drums at the maintenance yard;
- A red flammable container was observed next to the flammable cabinet at the maintenance yard. The cap was not on. It was noted that the container was partially full with water;
- Two red and one blue unlabeled drums were stored at the back of the maintenance yard. The blue drum had signs of leakage;
- The carbon dioxide cylinder in use at Pappy's Restaurant had a worn label;
- Two unlabeled spray bottles were observed in Pappy's Restaurant washing room;
- An unlabeled bucket was observed in Pappy's Restaurant washing room under a shelf on which detergents are stored;
- Unlabeled partially full buckets were observed in Pappy's Restaurant washing room;
- An unlabeled spray bottle was observed in the maintenance room for the showers at Elk Creek; and
- An spray bottle that contained purple liquid was observed in the shower maintenance room at Lake Fork. The bottle had a worn label.
Update: From the looks of this fish, maybe we are putting something odd in the lake!
Update: Here is another good one:
Concessioner staff had not submitted an ozone-depleting substance (ODS)-containing equipment registration form and fee with the State of Colorado.
Good old Colorado. Colorado is one of the states I have to have a special license to sell eggs.
Here is a quick contest -- I will send a free copy of my book (my global warming book or my novel BMOC) to the first reader who can email me with a link to the correct Colorado web page with information and/or forms for the ODS-containing equipment registration. I can't find it.
Update 2: I can be a man and admit when another man has bested me. So I must admit that though it is my environmental audit, TJIC has a much better post on it than I have. Maybe because he seems to have read more of it than I have.