Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Devil's in Details of PrintSTEP Regulation, Gannett Exec Warns

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Devil's in Details of PrintSTEP Regulation, Gannett Exec Warns

Article excerpt

Between newspapers and commercial printers, clashing views on the value of "common sense" U.S. regulations

For the past four years, commercial printers have been urging newspapers to support the PrintSTEP pilot program that is intended to simplify and speed environmental regulation of the printing industry.

PrintSTEP, which stands for Printers Simplified Total Environmental Partnership, is one of several experiments the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is running as part of its so-called Common Sense Initiative to change the way specific industries are regulated.

According to its proponents. PrintSTEP gives the industry itself a big voice in determining which environmental regulations should be emphasized and which are irrelevant.

"It recognizes that we are not, in the great mix of things, an industry with big environmental impacts," says Jeff Adrian, director of environment and safety for the Minnesota commercial printer John Roberts Co. PrintSTEP speeds the regulatory process, Adrian says. because it sets up what he calls "semi-customized modular permitting" for emissions - permitting that requires neither large amounts of time nor large numbers of bureaucrats.

"If you are lucky enough to be in a state that is selected for a pilot project, I urge you to get involved," Adrian tells newspaper operations executives. Newspapers hear a far different message from Gannett Co.'s manager for environmental law, Gerould J. McCoy.

The way he tells it, PrintSTEP won't do much good for newspapers - and could open them up to further regulation.

At the Newspaper Association of America SuperConference in Orlando. McCoy warns newspaper operations executives that when it comes to PrintSTEP, the devil is in the details.

"You don't use solvent-based inks, and many of you don't even use solvent-based cleaners. But because you are a printer, you are caught up in this, he says. "PrintSTEP imposes new regulatory burdens on you.

Among those burdens. McCoy says: Requiring newspapers to get permits for disposal they now do routinely and to disclose. and possibly negotiate. their disposal plans to community groups.

"Right now, if you are a small-quantity generator of hazardous waste and you have an episodic waste incident, you have to comply with regulations for a high- quantity generator - but you do not need to give notice [of the episode] or get a permit. …

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