Balancing Green Thinking

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There is a reason we all live here.  Perhaps it’s the benefits of weather, perhaps we grew up here and are reluctant to change.  Point is that it is a choice.

As a champion of green and sustainable behaviors, choice is a critical element of that belief as I often attempt to inspire action in the column.  We live in America, we have the right to buy things, and we buy a lot of things, cool.  But I advocate that the choices of energy and waste need to be considered.  Guy with a bunch of TVs needs a bigger solar panel, or certainly needs to realistically consider the need for a solar panel.

Not sure if the following is an indictment focused on the egregious examples of inefficient government or the practice of legislating behavior in this nanny state.

American Vanguard, or AMVAC, traded ADV on the NYSE, is a Newport Beach company that produces chemicals.

The chemicals they produce are for crop protection and aspects of health.  Four US factories, $300 million in annual revenue, my bad, forgot to ask how many jobs. AMVAC is part of the equation to defend plants and crops to satisfy the compelling global demand of food, fiber, feed or biofuels.

Almost the entire ecosystem is made up of chemicals.  As we do have chemicals in our lives, the goal is safety and that requires regulation.  We all agree.  And a company like AMVAC and regulatory agencies like the EPA both subscribe to a goal of safe and effective manufacturing to quality standards, applied appropriately.  Safety for the environment, and the humans that contact and consume.  A company like AMVAC belongs to a trade group that espouses the same goals, recognizing the need for agricultural productivity, as there are 7 billion people worldwide.

About a year ago, AMVAC receives a Stop Sale, Use or Removal Order, issued by the EPA, and spends the next year working to resolve it.  According to the OC Business Journal, “The restriction was lifted in August, when the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia voided the order, finding that the EPA official who signed it lacked authority to do so.  The court sent the matter back to the EPA for reconsideration, which led to the final approval.”

Didn’t have the authority to do so.

Regulatory hassles can be crated by something as simple as a subsequent application submission missing a page the previous submission had.  Denied.  To overturn it takes time and money, and loss of jobs, and revenue loss, and a salesman doesn’t get the sale of a new piece of equipment, and momma didn’t get new shoes, etc.

Ahhh, AMVAC, I feel your pain.  Often there is no bureaucratic risk in “no,” but “yes” gets one in trouble.

You can go to Crop Life (croplifeamerica.org) for a great source of information and perspective to do a deeper dive into this topic.  Good luck to local AMVAC.  Help us provide food and protect us from mosquitoes that may come in from the Caribbean behind Gulf Coast storms.  And think about hiring some talented locals that could ride their bikes to your office.

Another reality is that we did choose to live here, we can choose to leave.  So if you just bought a house here, and your twin just bought one in another state.  And you built to minimum standards.  Your house is way greener than your twin’s, based on our Title 24 Building Codes.  Our bar is wicked high.

But I read in the OC Register that new EPA pollution standards could cost more than $350 billion and shut down 15 gigawatts of power generation, driving up energy prices for 15 million Americans.  I wonder where the green jobs really are.  I contemplate the balance between legislating behaviors as opposed to seeking voluntary behavior or compliance, perhaps incentive based.

Those are the things I think about with my coffee.  How do you balance your green and sustainable thinking with a reality that considers costs, jobs, freedoms and rights?

Want to hear more about “The Story of Stuff”?  [email protected]

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