You would think that the only opinion the finishing industry has concerning the MP&M rule is that it must be defeated by any means possible. Well, recently I traveled through parts of the Midwest talking to people who agreed that it is not a good rule and should be defeated, but they also offered different slants on the situation that I had not considered.
One gentleman mentioned that some of the larger shops are in favor of the rule. Why? These shops have the capital to install the systems and technologies to meet the regulations. The rule would effectively put the smaller shops, which do not have the money to meet the regulation, out of business, and essentially hand the business to the larger shops. Of course, this would mean less business for suppliers; so more suppliers would likely go out of business as well.
Another person suggested that platers aren't doing their share when it comes to supporting the industry's crusade against the ruling. In his region he sees more suppliers carrying the financial ball than platers, who will ultimately be those affected by the ruling. Also, he actually welcomes the ruling whether it goes through or not. He explained why, "It makes us think about clean water, cleaner technologies and what we can do to keep the environment clean. I'm all for clean water. Who isn't? I can see a day coming when we will have to cement up the sewers and go to zero discharge."
I agree that we all should be looking for ways to clean up and improve finishing processes. It only makes for better product, a better work place and a cleaner environment. However, to be forced to do this because of regulations based on research conducted by those unfamiliar with the industry is absurd. EPA should have asked for the finishing industry's input before promulgating the MP&M ruling. Instead it simply conducted its research at a few chosen shops and decided that was representative of all the shops in the United States.
To me, that's the same as trying to figure out how things are done in professional football by watching the XFL. It cannot be done!