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Week of 17 July 2017: The quandary of environmental advocates

Email Jim at jthompson@taii.com

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The reality of the pulp and paper industry today is that it is tightly regulated, closely watched, and by and large good citizenry. No, it has not always been that way, and yes, there is still the occasional unveiling of a bad action. But for the most part, we are good citizens of the world.

The nongovernmental organizations, such as Greenpeace, Environmental Defense Fund and others, came into being in the 1970s. Personally, I was turned off by them immediately, for they violated laws to make their points--Greenpeace's illegal boarding of fishing vessels sticks in my mind. Justifying your illegal acts because, in your opinion, someone else is doing an illegal act does not constitute a viable case with me.

Nevertheless, in the 1970s, these environmental advocates could be considered forward thinkers. They had a vision, whether you believed in it or not, that pollution was taking the world down the wrong path. Their vision was ahead of most others.

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Now, however, the tables are turned. Most activities at pulp and paper mills are done under BACT (Best Available Control Technology) or MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) without exception. These protocols are written into the appropriate regulations and laws.

This leaves the environmental advocates in a quandary. Their job is finished, they have nothing to do. That means they cannot sustain their business model--who is going to give them money? They don't manufacture anything, they are solely dependent on sympathetic handouts and manipulation of the system to get government funds.

So, they ratchet up the rhetoric. They depend on generations of young people born since the major environmental improvements were made. They don't mind if these new generations get the wrong ideas and equate us to the polluters of the 1970s, for it helps them survive. The environmental advocates have become the old fashioned part of the equation, and they don't mind that as long as they can continue the myth of pending disaster.

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It is time to call them out. For example, we've published several stories about how Resolute is responding to them. But I have mentioned elsewhere that appeasement does not work. The real objective of the environmental advocacy groups today is their own survival. They cannot afford to declare a great victory, for then their incomes dry up. They are in quite a predicament!

For safety this week, consider your personal environment as you do your job each day. There are two dangers here. The first is this: if your job requires you to stay in one place all day, you may become complacent to the dangers around you (and there are dangers everywhere, even in an office). If your job requires you to roam around your facility, there may be dangers in places with which you are not completely familiar. Either way, hazards abound.

Be safe and we will talk next week.

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Jim Thompson is back again...with a new book on a taboo subject: the personalities in the pulp & paper industry. Jim has written in the past on many subjects based on his four plus decades in the worldwide pulp and paper industry. This new book is packed full of information valuable to the senior member of the industry as well as the recent entrant. A must for every pulp and paper library.

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Nip Impressions has been honored for Editorial Excellence by winning a 2016 Tabbie Award!

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