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Management Side
Week of 1 July 2019: The Environment and Regulations

Email Jim at jthompson@taii.com

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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.

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Onlypulpandpaperjobs.com has hundreds of registrants! [03.01.19]

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Environmental issues are even worse. Everyone is an expert. If you counter anyone's comments with comments of your own, you are labelled an uncaring idiot or worse. I have lived through paper bags are bad, use plastic and now plastic bags are bad, use paper. That is just one little example. We have absolutely no trusted clearing house worldwide on environmental issues that everyone can look to with assurance of correct answers (and I'll bet I will get some emails even criticizing this statement).

So, what is an enterprise that recognizes its main objective is to "spin the invoice printer," in a socially responsible way, to do?

Sadly, I think you will need to expand your bureaucracy a bit. Corporations need a department, staffed with smart and honest professionals, that serves as a clearing house for all regulations and environmental positions. It will take some appropriate scientists, accountants, lawyers and public relations professionals. This department will need a leader with the capabilities to direct a team charged with putting humankind on Mars. It just may be the most important non-operational position in the company.

But this is what the world is coming to folks. If we are going to spin the invoice printer at its optimum and retain as much profit as possible, we must find a way to get the environment and regulations game under control. We have to do it ourselves; no one is going to do it for us.

For safety this week, we need to first understand and follow all safety regulations. But we need to go further than this--we need to make sure we do all the practical things necessary to keep our people safe, no matter what the regulations say. We owe this to our employees and their families.

Be safe and we will talk next week.

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Onlypulpandpaperjobs.com has taken off like a rocket! Over fifty jobs are posted, in many interesting categories. These jobs are in at least 15 different US states. [06.19.19]

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Employers are on board with Onlypulpandpaperjobs.com. There are nearly forty employers located in fifteen different US states and six other countries. [06.19.19]

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