NEMA’s electroindustry March 2010 - (Page 6)
Washington Report › NEMA Attends Inaugural Meeting of Oregon Product Stewardship Stakeholder Group Mark Kohorst, senior manager for environment, health, and safety in NEMA’s Government Relations Department, attended the inaugural meeting of the Oregon Product Stewardship Stakeholder Committee in Portland in January. Accompanied by Ric Erdheim, senior counsel at Philips North America, Mr. Kohorst carried NEMA’s message on shared responsibility to the discussion, which is outlined in the Statement of Principles on End-of-Life Management of Electrical Products that was recently approved by NEMA’s Board of Governors. The Oregon discussion, the first of as many as eight meetings of this ad hoc committee planned for this year by the State Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), brought a variety of industry sectors and other stakeholders together to address the increasingly influential policy concept of product stewardship. NEMA views product stewardship in a manner consistent with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which states on its website that product stewardship “calls on those in the product life cycle—manufacturers, retailers, users, and disposers—to share responsibility for reducing the environmental impacts of products” (see www.epa.gov/osw/partnerships/ stewardship/basic.htm). Environmental advocates and certain state legislators, however, tend to approach product stewardship as a vehicle for imposing all legal and financial responsibility for product management on manufacturers, with little if any regard to differences in products or market economics. Various 2009 legislative proposals reflected this view, which NEMA argues can often lead to mandates on industry that are inefficient or economically unsustainable. Similar bills are expected to appear in 2010. Oregon’s stakeholder process was set in place after product stewardship legislation failed to pass in the 2009 legislative session. The DEQ has announced a set of goals for the committee that includes “Becom(ing) informed about the current ‘state of the practice’ in product stewardship,” and “drawing on the experience and expertise of the stakeholders” to develop a report on the topic for the legislature, and possibly developing legislative recommendations for the 2011 session. NEMA members have proactively initiated several widely recognized stewardship programs for mercury products, such as the Thermostat Recycling Corporation and the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation. Though successful for the products they were designed to manage, these programs do not necessarily constitute models for other products such as lamps or primary, single use batteries. Mr. Kohorst and other industry representatives stressed at the Oregon meeting that the most efficient management system will differ with each product, which is why flexibility and shared responsibility are important elements of state policy. Because of the travel involved, NEMA’s participation in future meetings of the Oregon committee will mostly be by phone. The goal for NEMA (and other industry representatives) throughout the process is to ensure that the views of manufacturers are fairly represented in whatever recommendations ultimately result from the committee. ei Mark A. Kohorst, Senior Manager of Environment, Health, & Safety | email@example.com DID YOU KNOW? Maintaining LIFO is imperative to the electroindustry. Learn more at www.nema.org/gov/LIFO.cfm FERC Smart Grid Demo Day has been rescheduled for April 7, 2010 NEMA electroindustry • March 2010
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