In the years since we started using monthly editorial themes (this is environment and regulations month, if you have not figured it out by now) these subjects, the environment and regulations, have become more and more politicized and less and less, it seems to me, based on solid science and facts.
A story I was told several years ago, and I can't even verify if it is fact, illustrates the point and went like this. A certain politician, when asked about the pH in the effluent from a certain mill, clenched his fist and said, "You can be certain I will get legislation passed that drives pH to zero! We will not tolerate pH any longer!" Well, I want to see the facility that has a discharge of 0.0 pH and I think most of our readers here would like to see it, too.
Have regulations, in some cases, become too onerous? Certainly, the answer is yes. In other areas we can all agree they are too loose.
Here is an example from the medical area. Just yesterday I got a four page, obviously computer-generated letter, from my insurance company concerning something that happened around 4 March of this year. The letter droned on and on about how it was sent to me in compliance with such and such regulations and the procedure I should follow if I disagree with the insurance company's decision. What it failed to say was what the procedure was, who ordered it, what the insurance company's decision was or anything else that would give me a clue as to why they sent it to me. This is where we see the cost of regulations that are sometimes discussed in the news.
A certain state, where we used to have employees but do not have any now sends me a dunning letter about 85 days after the end of each quarter saying if I don't pay my withheld employment taxes they are going to place a lien against our property, blah, blah, blah. It has become routine. So, I go into their state website, fill out a form, and swear we had no employees for the subject quarter. I have done this for two years. All the previous electronic filings I have done show zero liability, and no one has questioned that. Yet, there is no place in their system where I can tell them once and for all we have no employees in that state. So, each quarter I go through this exercise.