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Small businesses can avoid being 'green'

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I read your article "Seeing green from being green" (Feb. 7) with interest.Some areas of the business community are seriously looking toward sustainable production.Unfortunately, some of the largest US manufacturers outsource their dirtiest products and supplies.

And smaller, often closely held corporations are sometimes simply exempt from existing regulations due to their size. These firms are legally responsible to adhere to environmental laws and regulations. But regulators are under considerable pressure not to shut them down since their production is important to larger companies and they employ local workers.

Worse, however, is the fact that they have absolutely no obligation to adequately insure against potential disasters or reveal to communities what level of insurance they do have, and no resources to go after if their activities result in a disaster for which they are not adequately insured.

If the extent of the disaster is great enough, the community is left holding the bag to resolve the problem as best they can.

Philip Murphy Cincinnati

Your article "Seeing green from being green" claims to identify a trend of American businesses becoming conscientious environmentalists. In reality, they aren't doing anything they haven't done in the past.

The history of US industrial growth has been characterized by massive gains in efficiency and waste reduction. Businesses have always engaged in these activities because it saves money. The real story, however, isn't that businesses are engaging in waste reduction, but that greater government intervention in the economy slows down efficiency gains. The most efficient countries are those with free markets.

Efficiency is no environmental panacea. Increased energy efficiency, for example, leads to greater energy use. The prosperity created by businesses has lead to a healthier populace and a cleaner environment. There's no need to apologize for that.

Paul Georgia Washington

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