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OCR for page 165
Part 3 Managing Technological Hazarcls During the past 15 years, there has been a shift in the nature of the hazards that concern both citizens and public officials. Concentration on the visible problems of air and water pollution has given way to emphasis on less visible problems of toxic chemicals whose conse- quences are not well understood. This change has placed a burden on regulatory agencies that attempt to assess and manage new technolo- gies. Changes are also taking place in hazard management outside of government public interest groups as well as industrial managers are searching for alternatives to government regulation. The papers in this section reflect past and present attempts to man- age technological hazards. Victoria I. Tschinkel illustrates the efforts of Florida's Department of Environmental Regulation to clean up hazardous waste sites that, because of a particularly high water table, threaten the state's groundwater. These efforts explicitly balance sci- entific evidence of nsk, cost-effectiveness of alternative cleanup methods, and complex legal and practical problems to achieve health and environmental goals. John A. Klacsmann describes the innovative approach of Clean Sites Inc. to hazard management. This nonprofit company was formed by business and environmental groups in 1984 to augment federal efforts for hazardous waste cleanup. Support for Clean Sites reflects the growing recognition that those responsible for technologi 165

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166 INTRODUCTION TO PORTS cat activities that are frequently associated with hazards can often be the best hazard managers. John F. Ahearne's paper draws upon his experience at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission during and following the accident at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Station. He suggests lessons that industry, regulators, and the public should learn from this accident to manage technological hazards more effectively. Finally, he cautions engi- neers and scientists against becoming advocates, suggesting that advocacy would lead to public mistrust of the neutrality of expert witnesses and thereby create a bias against informed public debate about hazards. The final paper in Part 3 in effect summarizes the volume. Here, Robert W. Kates discusses the barriers imposed by the limits of our scientific knowledge, the shortcomings of the institutions responsible for regulating hazards and compensating victims, and the difficulties of providing equity when managing technologies that present varying risks and benefits for different segments of society. He describes the searches for technological and behavioral fixes that can help over- come these barriers and warns that future changes in the use of tech- nology will present new hazards as well as new opportunities for hazard reduction.