Each month, governmental and industry publications discuss proposed and newly enacted environmental legislation. At first glance, the most difficult aspects of new environmental regulations are to understand and implement the requirements. In reality, these are secondary, compared to assuring that our field employees "buy in" to the requirements. Experience has proven to me that our responsibility as environmental managers includes, not only understanding the requirements, but "selling" them to our field employees. That means explaining the rationale for the law and ultimately asking our field employees for the best way to implement performance related requirements. Our field employees have the "hands on" experience to solve problems using the wisdom gained from years of field work. Once they are involved in the process, accountability for the results demanded by government is more easily achieved. Here is an example of what I mean.

Texas Railroad Commission Rule 91 requires cleanup to 1% TPH within one year of an oil spill. Prior to Rule 91 becoming law, we explained the proposed requirements and their rationale to our Texas field employees. They assisted us with our comments on the proposal. When Rule 91 was enacted in November 1993, our field employees were already aware of the requirements and enthusiastic about trying various amendments to remediate oil spills. In other words, we had involved the people most closely affected by the law, in the legislative process.

Not all field employees have bought into this process, but more and more are coming on board every day. At times, we may become frustrated with the process, but the results are well worth the effort.

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