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Friday, Dec. 5, 1997

A state agency included me on the list of people they solicited for ideas regarding pollution prevention projects they should fund. My answer probably shocked them. If you think I'm wrong, thinking negatively, or just acting like a jerk, please let me know.

Pollution Prevention Make-work

by Ted Mooney

My suggestion would be to fund an unbiased study on whether such grants and public funding really advance the cause of pollution prevention or actually retard it.

Sorry to be the cynic, but 25 years experience in the plating industry sways me to think the latter. I've watched as shop owners stalled and clutched at straws, waiting for the magic bullet that these studies would produce. I've seen such studies steer them toward investing in exotic and unreliable technology to address simple maintenance shortcomings; and watched them dawdle in search of funding when problems could have been fixed immediately and inexpensively in-house. I've seen owners who were individually pro-active gather as a mindless herd waiting for something to happen when the state has gotten involved in this way. I've seen this industry's best engineers driven out of practice, their priceless wealth of experience forever lost, because paying customers are impossible to find when the state is competing against you, charging zero.

I can't name a single pollution prevention technology in the electroplating industry that has been invented, developed, or significantly furthered as a result of such projects --whose goal, if truth be told, is really further funding extensions.

I believe in research;, Inc. is an AESF Research Sponsor. But publicly funded pollution prevention projects are, in my experience, public works projects which are worthless, anathema to focus, and destructive of pro-activity. The emperor hasn't any clothes; I apologize and don't wish to be rude or to offend anyone, but he hasn't.

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