Yes, it's true, environmental regulations have grown to mammoth proportions, as Pete Pantuso, Rubber Manufacturers Association vice president of public affairs, noted in a recent speech.
``In 1972, environmental regulations amounted to about 1,000 pages and by 1992, environmental regulations amounted to 12,000 pages,'' Pantuso said in his talk to the Akron Rubber Group.
Volume isn't synonymous with quality. It makes sense to reconsider environmental rules, and to discard those that don't serve the public interest. But before taking a hacksaw to regulations, elected officials and the business community should consider why today there are so many of them.
Was it rabid environmentalists taking over the regulatory agencies? Anti-business people sticking to their perceived enemies? Or was it the will of the people, who no longer wanted dead lakes and rivers, or smoke-filled air.
Today, for example, the tire industry has an outstanding track record for environmental compliance. Fifty years ago it was one of the worst polluters in the nation.
Look at Akron, the Rubber Capital back then; ask the mothers who swept the carbon black dust off their porches each morning (they couldn't sweep it out of their lungs) about pollution. Or, if you could, ask the Akron rubber barons who built their mansions upwind from their plants. Their workers lived downwind.
The tire industry didn't clean up its act out of concern for the environment. Regulations forced it to do so.
Review regulations? Yes-always. Change some? If they don't meet a standard of practicality vs. their worth to society, certainly.
But the bottom line shouldn't be the No. 1 guideline when it comes to the environment. That's the way it used to be, to the detriment of society.
Gault to stay
It's good news for Goodyear that Stanley C. Gault hopes to stay on as chairman after he retires at the end of the year.
Gault, while giving up his CEO post and day-to-day management activities, still would be available to provide his business acumen and considerable prestige to the company. His probable successor as CEO, Samir Gibara, could benefit from Gault's presence in helping smooth the transition to new leadership.