technology so that everyone moves forward in unison to avoid creating competitive disadvantages within the industry. Finally, it could seek governmental implementation of uniform pollution prevention requirements, so that everyone would be subject to the same pollution prevention burdens.
If industry decides to discontinue pollution prevention, pollution prevention has ceased to be an ideal solution. Such an action would certainly fuel pressure from the public and from environmental groups to return to a primary strategy of command-and-control regulation. To these critics, industry would appear unequal to the task of self-regulation in environmental matters.
Alternatively, if companies pool their knowledge and seek to act cooperatively, they may become vulnerable to antitrust actions. So far we have heard only friendly talk about existing collaborations, but such talk may have ominous overtones when viewed from the perspective of a disgruntled competitor or the Justice Department. The EPA newsletter on pollution prevention reported efforts to develop a pollution prevention technical information exchange team among several major manufacturers. A team of representatives from these manufacturers toured one of the participating companies, facilities to observe pollution prevention initiatives. One tour member exclaimed, "It is hard to believe we are touring [this company's] facility—a major competitor!" A representative of the host company similarly remarked that "even though we compete with our products, this is an area where we must work together to ensure a safe environment." Another team member opined that "these meetings have set a precedent—never before has there been a reason so important that we could remove the barriers of competition to work toward a common goal. Good pollution prevention technology is simply too important to all of us not to share" (Li, 1991). Such sentiments possess considerable practical appeal. Perhaps pollution prevention technology should be exempted from the antitrust laws. But cooperation to eliminate competition at present is against the law.
Thus we come to the last option open to the company. It is, in fact, the last hope for the long-term future of pollution prevention. A level playing field among companies undertaking (or failing to undertake) pollution prevention appears indispensable. Government's role is to provide that level field. At the same time, government must give industry freedom to innovate, substitute products, test, market, and bring the full arsenal of technology to bear in creating a safer, more environmentally benign economy.
Such a role for government seems at present unlikely to prevail over the long run. We are too accustomed to what Professor James Krier dubbed more than 20 years ago "The Great American Regulatory Tradition." Pollution prevention begins with government encouragement of private innovation in partnership with industry to eliminate or reduce use of environmentally suspect substances and processes. But it risks metamorphosis into a new theory to justify a greater governmental role in specifying exactly what industry must do to satisfy environmental imperatives. In short, impatient regulators will not be able to keep their hands