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Common sense approach to regulations?

So far, so good seems to be the consensus among packaging industry lobbyists as Congress continues to move swiftly on regulatory reform, part of the House Republicans' Contract With America.

The mandatory risk assessment and cost/benefit analysis that must be conducted for new regulations, under the bill passed by the House in March, should bring some common sense to the regulatory process, said Richard Thornburg, director of government relations for the Flexible Packaging Association. The packaging industry, he said, has been burdened by environmental regulations whose costs, in many cases, far outweigh any benefits. Thornburg said current efforts by EPA to develop Maximum Achievable Control Technology standards under the Clean Air Act is a good means of employing risk assessment and cost/benefit analysis. EPA wanted package manufacturers to use temporary total enclosures on each press when testing for emissions, a procedure that would cost approximately $30ꯠ per press. An alternative procedure, the liquid to gas mass balance process, would cost only about $5ꯠ. Regulatory reform is expected to take longer in the Senate, where several bills will be competing. Meanwhile, the Clinton Administration is conducting its own regulatory review. "It's amazing how receptive the Administration has become on regulation," Thornburg remarks.

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