A Sicilian proverb states, "The more things change, the more they remain the same." Well, if you thumb through the January and February 1974 issues of Products Finishing magazine you may find that this is true.
Tom Robison, former PF editor, wrote the January 1974 editorial about environmental regulations and politically motivated decisions. Tom suggested that the politicians "begin making decisions motivated by a concern for the economic future of the United States."
The finishing industry uses the same reasoning today when dealing with the U.S. EPA and environmental regulations. Economics and sound science must be used when promulgating environmental laws; however, EPA does not always listen to our industry.
Jerry Poll, another PF editor, discussed environmental issues in his editorial in the February 1974 issue. His editorial promoted a conference hosted by the American Electroplaters Society (now AESF). The conference was held in Washington, D.C. and focused on pollution abatement. It would seem this was the precursor of the annual AESF/EPA Conference.
A news item also rang familiar in the January issue. "Associations Formally Oppose Effluent Guidelines" was a brief item about four associations that expressed formal opposition to the EPA effluent guidelines proposed in the October 5, 1973 Federal Register. It seems the groups were contacted by the EPA to help develop proposed guidelines. According to the group, "Our separate comments and suggestions were not implemented or seriously considered." The finishing industry still sees into this . However, industry associations, such as the Government Action Committee (supported by the AESF, NAMF and MFSA), have gained power and influence in the regulatory process.
Even 50 years ago, finishers dealt with some of the same issues as today. In the February 1949 issue, then editor Ezra Blount editorialized about the importance of receiving clean parts, or at least knowing what kind of soils you are dealing with. He also commented that extra finishing operations cause costly delays throughout the plant. In addition he said that the added expense of closely controlled operations is justified by a reduction in finishing costs.
Perhaps history does repeat itself.