How many times can industry cry wolf?
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report

How many times can industry cry wolf?

Paul Holmes

Grist’s David Roberts has a piece on the industry response to EPA regulations designed to reduce toxic mercury pollution and makes a point I’ve made several times myself. Responding to a predictably alarmist industry “study” ("EPA's Utility MACT Proposal: High Risk to the Economy, No Incremental Benefit."), Roberts explains how corporate obstructionism works: “What continually surprises me, even as cynical as I've gotten -- is how seriously polluters are taken in each successive episode of air pollution regulation. By now the script is numbingly predictable: industry commissions rigged studies showing that compliance will threaten power reliability and jack up costs; independent reports show otherwise; politicians from coal states uncritically echo the industry perspective; the media he-said she-saids; and finally, years later, the regs turn out to be cheaper and easier to comply with than anyone guessed. Every. Damn. Time.”
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