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Small businesses can avoid being 'green'

By Philip MurphyPaul Georgia, and Mary Clancy / February 17, 2000



I read your article "Seeing green from being green" (Feb. 7) with interest.Some areas of the business community are seriously looking toward sustainable production.Unfortunately, some of the largest US manufacturers outsource their dirtiest products and supplies.

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And smaller, often closely held corporations are sometimes simply exempt from existing regulations due to their size. These firms are legally responsible to adhere to environmental laws and regulations. But regulators are under considerable pressure not to shut them down since their production is important to larger companies and they employ local workers.

Worse, however, is the fact that they have absolutely no obligation to adequately insure against potential disasters or reveal to communities what level of insurance they do have, and no resources to go after if their activities result in a disaster for which they are not adequately insured.

If the extent of the disaster is great enough, the community is left holding the bag to resolve the problem as best they can.

Philip Murphy Cincinnati

Your article "Seeing green from being green" claims to identify a trend of American businesses becoming conscientious environmentalists. In reality, they aren't doing anything they haven't done in the past.

The history of US industrial growth has been characterized by massive gains in efficiency and waste reduction. Businesses have always engaged in these activities because it saves money. The real story, however, isn't that businesses are engaging in waste reduction, but that greater government intervention in the economy slows down efficiency gains. The most efficient countries are those with free markets.

Efficiency is no environmental panacea. Increased energy efficiency, for example, leads to greater energy use. The prosperity created by businesses has lead to a healthier populace and a cleaner environment. There's no need to apologize for that.

Paul Georgia Washington

Canadians as partners against terrorism

Your Feb. 8 article "Canadians shun US efforts to control border" reported that Section 110, of the 1996 Illegal Immigration and Immigrant Responsibility Act was a congressional response to a thwarted terrorist act.

This is simply not true. It was designed to do no more than track whether foreigners are overstaying the limits of their visas.

The US Senate Judiciary Committee has stated, "even if a vast database of millions of visa overstayers could be developed, this database will in no way provide information as to which individuals might be engaging in other unlawful activity."

No terrorist crossing the border declares his/her true occupation.

Section 110 would have had no effect on Ahmed Ressam's entry into the United States, as he was travelling under a different name for which no criminal or terrorist record existed.

Section 110 will deliver a gridlocked northern border, as the 200 million people crossing it each year are required to fill out and submit meaningless documentation. Millions of jobs depend on the more than $1 billion in trade that must cross that border every day.

Canada and the US, together, can find an effective solution that will underscore our strong commitment to security without penalizing the vibrant economic relationship that must continue to ensure our mutual prosperity.

Mary Clancy Boston Canadian Consul General

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