NAM Survey Shows Environmental Progress

May 8, 1999
It's little surprise that 18- to 34-year-olds are at the heart of a nationwide increase in illegal drug use, and the manufacturing industry traditionally draws heavily from this pool of job seekers.

More than eight in 10 manufacturers have voluntarily changed their manufacturing processes to reduce waste and emissions, and more than 50 percent of those companies report that the change saved money, according to an environmental survey of 2,000 manufacturers by the National Association of Manufacturers.

"The smartest manufacturers know that protecting the environment is the right thing to do for their communities and their businesses. Our survey clearly shows that most manufacturers are making a commitment to the environment that goes well above and beyond what government regulations require," said NAM President Jerry Jasinowski. "The fact that they are saving money while doing so illustrates that global competitiveness and productivity can generate significant environmental improvements."

The survey shows that more than three quarters of manufacturers have what they term a "good working relationship" with their state environmental agencies, while a little more than half also say their relationship with the U.S. EPA is good. More than nine out of ten believe states should have more autonomy in administering environmental regulations.

"We've seen steady progress in the relationship between industry and government, but beneath the surface there are some serious problems with our environmental regulatory system," Jasinowski said. "It's time to develop a new approach to environmental regulation that offers flexibility, encourages innovation, stimulates cooperation and fosters policies that work.

The survey also shows that manufacturers are particularly proactive at the local level.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also lauded industry's efforts to improve the economy.

"We have made progress because American business has spent more than $1 trillion to clean the air, water, and land, invented new technologies, and created the wealth to pay for it," said President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue. "It was worth it."

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