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Re: GP sampling

  > From: Jon Campbell <jon@cqs.com>
  > I think you have it all wrong. These are the same
  > companies that have conspired to keep the public in 
  > the dark about the dangers of Agent Orange and 
  > 2,4,5-T. Documented cases. That was not that long 
  > ago; they have not reformed. 
  While some companies are corrupt or degrade the environment
  intentionally, not all are evil.  To group them generically is
  misleading within any context of environmental damage.  Some plant
  managers are extremely careful about the safety of their workers and
  the surrounding environment.  
  Others do the best to maintain compliance with the law, which as any
  capitalistic entity, is the minimal amount that is necessary so
  optimize their profits.  The only way to change those habits is to
  change the law.  We do know that corporations will try to and do
  influence the law, but the laws have been changing for the better
  consistantly over the last three decades.  Still a lot more to do . . .
  but we ignore the gains at the expense of denigrating the
  environmentalist's efforts over the last three decades - which is
  extremely silly.
  Many companies do intentionally mislead or cover up various issues; I
  am not defending them in any way.  There are ways to discover this,
  however, without breaking into the plant, placing the trespassers and
  the plant employees in jeopardy.
  > Companies and government agencies who are fixed on the
  > righteousness of the status quo HATE direct analysis of REAL data,
  > because REAL data often shows that their modeling and assumptions
  > are fallacious. 
  First, though many companies loath any data that shows them out of
  compliance, they LOVE real data that says they are in compliance with
  the law, which is *more often than not.*  MOST companies are in
  compliance with the law.  The government regulators also prefer real
  data as it eliminates any ambiguity with regards to certain permit
  requirements.  To infer otherwise is incorrect and false.
  Second, models are generally formulated on real data.  If the models
  are established using emission estimates, in 95% of the cases those
  estimates are conservative to begin with (more emission than are
  actually present).  The models themselves are almost always
  conservative in their impacts estimations.  Depending on the model,
  they overestimate impacts from a factor of two to twenty.  The models
  are based on the most conservative inputs and if meteorological data is
  required, the worst met years in modeled impacts (usually over the most
  recent 5 years of data available) are the results reported.  If not
  available, they use artificial worst-case met data.
  There are always exceptions, but the guidelines regarding models do
  everything possible to remain conservative in estimating impacts.
  > That's the ESSENTIAL difference between health assessments 
  > (what has happened) and risk assessments (in which you make
  > a judgement that it's OK to kill one person per million
  > exposed according to theoretical calculations of exposure). The
  > risk assessors job is, to quote Peter Montague, to keep the
  > trains to the death camps running on time.
  Ouch, risk assessments could easily take up a few hundred pages of
  debates.  But the risk assessors job is not to keep death camps
  running.  Grossly unfair comparison - sadly the wise use groups use the
  same tactics when describing eco-nazis and eco-terrorists.  Wonder
  where they get their material from?  :<(
  Risk assessment uses the modeled impacts and figures out if you are
  going to be exposed to a injurous or life-threatening problem.  The
  modeled impacts are normally conservative AS ARE the risk assessment
  values.  It is by no means a perfect science and the values change all
  the time.  Of course, those pesky government scientists are one of the
  few groups that do this, and you don't like them or want to fund them. 
  What happens - the industry starts coughing up their own risk
  assessment values.  I really don't like industry sponsored research in
  this light - no matter how good the work, the values will always be
  suspect. But if you don't fund the govt research  . . .
  Does it mean that you are safe if the risk assessment says you are
  safe?  No, it just means the odds are in your favor.  Simple as that. 
  But the whole exercise is statistics and numbers.  And if you want your
  TV and your car and your computer :<), then the numbers have to start
  somewhere.  I would rather have a standard than no standard at all.  We
  were there not too long ago and it was not good.
  Still, I myself would find it hard to believe industry all the time if
  I did not work at these places, especially if I lived next door.  There
  are several I would not live next door to.  The industry sure does not
  want to let activists in the facility to make that judgement - their
  distrust of answers of that kind is just as well earned as the
  activist's mistrust of corporations.  
  Your solution?
  > This is a silly debate. Let's get on with the work of
  > eliminating dioxins and PCBs from the biosphere.
  Not a silly debate if your answer is to dispute every aspect of air
  quality science like someone just sacrificed a chicken to come up with
  answers.  A lot of hard work from university and government researchers
  have gone into what we use today and continues to this day.  Your
  efforts are supplemented by this work whether you like it or not, and
  the responses of the last few decades have led to massive reductions in
  both PCBs and dioxins in the our biosphere and in our bodies.  
  Again, a lot more work to go and readily acknowledged.  I am not your
  enemy here, but I am one of the few here in this forum that works with
  industry on a daily basis - from pulp and paper mills (last week no
  less) to incinerators to ore digestion plants to polymer manufacturers
  to refineries.  I also work with environmental groups and have written
  affidavits to get incinerators shut down.  Maybe just a *little* credit
  is due.
  Sam McClintock