Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Reader Comment – 11-24-09 SOCMA vs ACC

Anonymous chimed in on the political efficacy discussion with the following comment:
“As someone directly involved in the HR 2868 process, I can say unequivocally that ACC was substantively and extensively involved in the Energy and Commerce Committee negotiations. They served their member companies well by engaging early and thoughtfully, and significant changes were made both to the citizen suits, IST, and employee participation provisions as a result. SOCMA was not nearly as involved, and did not have nearly the impact on the final product as a result. Your initial observation was correct.”
Comment on Anonymity Now it sounds like this is the Anonymous that has provided previous comments on the negotiation process on HR 2868 in the Energy and Commerce Committee, but it is impossible to know for sure. This is the problem with the use of that Nome de Plume; we don’t know who is providing the information so we cannot accurately assess the accuracy of the data provided. As always, I understand the need for anonymity for any number of people providing information to this blog. But the ‘Anonymous’ tag does compromise the utility of the information provided, particularly when there is controversy involved. If people were to at least use some unique name for their anonymous posts, we could assess the accuracy of their information over time and apply appropriate weight to their contribution to the debate. Alternatively one cold email me directly with the information so that I could vouch for the source, if not necessarily the accuracy. One final point on ‘anonymous’, I will not stop a comment posting because it is labeled as coming from ‘Anonymous’. Ultimately, I would rather have the contribution than not. I will, however, periodically remind readers of the problems associated with that tag. Relative Contributions Not withstanding my earlier comments that initiated this discussion, one would expect that the ACC would have more impact on chemical legislation than SOCMA. It is a much larger organization, representing (among others) some of the largest chemical facilities in the country. In the political process size does matter with more than a little justification. In a representative republic such as ours, it would seem reasonable that an organization representing more people would have more weight in the discussion. My comments were directed at the efficacy of tactics not organizational size. I believe that the public stance of SOCMA has been more confrontational than cooperative. If SOCMA has been more cooperative behind the scenes, that is great. Again, in my opinion, I think that this legislation is too important for confrontation to be the ruling mode of operation. I believe that both sides are better served by a clear recognition of the points of view of all involved and that requires discussion not confrontation.

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