September 15 - September 19, 2014

The U.S. will force companies that owe federal fines for hazmat violations to pay up or shut down. Good plan or bad plan?

Answers Votes
Bad plan. 63%
Good plan. 37%

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Tagged categories: Enforcement; hazardous materials; Hazardous waste; Health & Safety; North America; PHMSA

Comment from Karen Fischer, (9/15/2014, 9:53 AM)

Good plan for China!

Comment from M. Halliwell, (9/16/2014, 10:50 AM)

I think there would need to be a graduated enforcement plan...if you owe them $5, I think shutting you down is a bit harsh. On the other hand, the current system where chronic violators can continue to operate without *actual* penalty needs improvement.

Comment from Timothy Werbstein, (9/17/2014, 7:31 AM)

A law that is unenforced is not a law. It would be no protection for our people and environment if we base our hazmat laws on China's. China is the "wild West" in business practices and accepts people dying from preventable "accidents"... that is until a town rises up and collectively kills the violators.

Comment from Karen Fischer, (9/17/2014, 10:05 AM)

My point was, that there should be some other method to address the problem other than shutting a company down. How about jail time for company "higher ups"? Or perhaps, confiscation of their "retirement packages" or bonuses until it is paid? That will get their attention... When you shut down the company, you put the WORKERS out of work. The ones in charge that allowed the violations just move on to other jobs.

Comment from M. Halliwell, (9/18/2014, 11:45 AM)

Karen, I think we all agree that shutting them down shouldn’t be the first step. Unfortunately, many of the companies not paying hazmat fines are the same ones keeping their money off-shore, using shell companies, paying minimum wage and putting their employees and communities at high risk (rather than properly protecting them). I'd love to see seizures and jail time, but considering the record of enforcement in the US (i.e. cases getting tied up in the courts for close to a decade while these companies continue to operate), it would be nice to have the additional option of closing them down until they pay their fine and can demonstrate compliance.

Comment from Randy Funston, (9/18/2014, 11:58 AM)

This is nothing short of more government control & tyranny for liberals who believe big government is the answer. The way our nation is moving we will all soon be welfare recipients or working for the government. My question is what branch of the government has ever been successful and who will be paying the bills?

Comment from Jim Johnson, (9/19/2014, 2:22 AM)

To achieve any improvement prosecution needs be taken out of the hands of a government agency and assigned to a federal court and a jury. Leaving things in the hands of an agency has not worked or this discussion would not be occurring. There is also the fact that many government agencies get absolutely out of control when assessing fines. Look at the Sackett situation where a home owner was being fined $75,000 per day for a puddle of non-existent water in their yard. Fines are racked up to the millions in short order and the government agency does everything it can to keep from going to court. Why not go to court you ask? - Well, if it goes to court the agency cannot force compliance, and they demand compliance! So let a federal court decide and the judge will establish payment guidelines at the same time. It is common for a judge to conference with both parties and work out payment plans that satisfy both sides.

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