Thursday, January 11, 2001

Environmental self-monitoring and EPA

Don’t be ridiculous. Penalty-free self-auditing lets environmental violators turn themselves in when they know they are going to be caught anyhow. Violators shouldn’t expect to make tons of money ignoring environmental laws and then ask to get off scot-free, with the money in their pockets, because they admit what they did.
Blue Springs, Mo.

As a manager of a Texas chemical plant, I was pleased to read Kenneth Smith’s Op-Ed column “Only EPA knows.” I just came from a meeting with a group of employee volunteers who are organizing our effort to be recertified as a Star facility in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program. VPP is a model of how government and industry are working together to improve safety in the workplace. I am committed, and I believe my peers in other plants are committed, to complying with environmental regulations. An EPA program like VPP might encourage industry to go beyond compliance to compete for recognition as leaders in emission reductions. Our country’s economy is dependent on its manufacturing base, and I believe EPA can help preserve that base and preserve our environment at the same time. Thanks again for your comments.
Corpus Christi, Texas

Your Jan. 4 Op-Ed column “Only EPA knows” is correct in several aspects. I admire especially the description of the faulty evaluation of environmental policies that is rampant among so-called analysts, whether in academia or the media, as well as the imbedded subjective analysis of ideology and partisanship that is so easily used among media reporters.
As a political scientist who has taught environmental politics since 1983 and who has a strong interest in American institutions, I find this sort of misreporting rampant among the most prestigious news organizations. Thanks for providing an analysis that instructs rather than preaches.
Program director, master of arts in liberal studies
Associate professor, political science
University of Central Florida

Israelis protesting Clinton proposal exceed estimate

While your paper estimates attendance at Monday night’s pro-Jerusalem rally at “over 100,000,” all official and non-official Israeli estimates placed attendance at triple that number. The Israel police placed attendance at 300,000 (a figure echoed by the Jerusalem Post). The rally’s organizers estimated approximately 400,000 people in attendance. The lowest attendance estimate was printed by the left-wing daily Ha’aretz newspaper, which published an attendance figure of 250,000.
In other words, all those with access to first-hand information contradict the report in The Washington Times. It is quite unseemly for your paper to print a figure which is so obviously inaccurate. This mistake has definite political implications. The real attendance figures only serve to underscore further the degree of popular Israeli opposition to President Clinton’s latest proposal. It is important for your readership to understand the degree to which regular Israeli citizens believe that the plan will pave a road to war and trample Jewish heritage.
N. Potomac, Md.

High-tech compliment

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