To influence legislation and regulations affecting the finishing industry, you must be involved. The finishing industry provides many opportunities for this through events such as the Day on Capitol Hill, sponsored by the National Association of Metal Finishers. On this day finishers from around the country meet in Washington D.C. and visit their respective representatives and senators. The Internet is another good tool for keeping informed.
One extremely good tool that many finishers need to take better advantage of is the AESF/EPA Conference for Environmental Excellence, which will be held January 17-21 in Orlando, FL. Robert Benson from the U.S. EPA Office of Policy in Washington, D.C. will deliver a talk on the Strategic Goals Program and be available to answer some of your questions about environmental policy for the new millennium. Here is your chance to ask specific questions of the person who works directly with Administrator Carol M. Browner.
The program will also feature speakers from other EPA divisions, such as Air and Radiation, Research and Development, Environmental Assistance and the Office of Water. By attending the conference you will be able to speak to these people, get to know them and let them get to know you. This human-to-human interface allows the regulators and researchers to become familiar with you and your business. It lets them know how regulations, technology limitations, capital constraints and other issues affect you personally. It forces them to think about aspects of pollution prevention that they may have overlooked, such as the economics or feasibility of a technology.
Although the finishing industry has a strong presence in Washington D.C., it can be stronger and more effective with your participation. Association dues only go so far. You are the one who knows what you want for your company. You are the one who knows what your business needs. You are the one who understands what your company can and cannot tolerate when it comes to regulations, restrictions, sound science and compliance. If you want to influence decisions and affect change, you have to present your perspective.
For more information on the conference, contact AESF at 407-281-6441.