Most of you who read this blog realize that Mitt Romney and our own Governor Scott Walker are huge proponents of growing the economy by reducing the onerous burden of regulations on small business. And you also realize that those very regulations often insure that we live in safe neighborhoods and communities, enjoy clean air and water, and work in businesses with fewer potential hazards.
And of course we can count on those small business job creators to do the right thing, well, because the competition in the open marketplace will demand it.
Well that sounds just fine except that it isn’t. Even in our current regulated business environment, this small business went out of business. Did they do the right thing and clean up after themselves? Hell NO…and guess who is going to be on the hook to make sure the local municipality is safe and the local waterways remain clean? You and me my friends via our local office of the EPA and Wisconsin’s Dept of Natural Resources!
Here’s the article from our Milwaukee Journal Sentinel…and some ‘highlights’:
Niphos Coatings Inc. abruptly closed a few years ago and the chemicals, as well as plating equipment, garbage and other debris, were left behind, officials said. Photos taken during a court-ordered building inspection in late August reveal blue- and black-colored drums and white barrels of chemicals throughout the building.
Owner Thomas Harju of Slinger stopped paying property taxes for the business in 2007, county records show. He has not responded to repeated requests from Washington County and state emergency government officials for information on what hazards remain inside.
EPA officials in Chicago are attempting to coax the owner to voluntarily give them access to the site rather than going through the time-consuming process of asking a federal judge to approve a warrant.
Slinger Police Chief Dean Schmidt said Friday that he met with Harju late Thursday and the property owner agreed to cooperate. Harju signed an access agreement with the EPA, Schmidt said.
Federal regulators and contractors likely will get inside within the next two weeks to count and assess the condition of containers and begin testing contents, said Jaime Brown, an emergency response on-scene coordinator for the EPA’s Superfund program in Chicago.
Samples from containers will be tested to confirm hazardous contents, Brown said. After test results are available, the EPA could schedule the removal of the compounds by early October.
If the owner is unable to pay costs of removing and disposing of the chemicals, the EPA would fund the cleanup, Brown said. The agency could attempt to recover costs at a later date, Brown said.
Two of the chemicals inside the abandoned building – nitric acid and sodium cyanide – are considered extremely hazardous, according to Schmid, the county emergency management coordinator.
So, if this can happen now, what do you think would happen in an Unregulated environment?