Polluting Facilities and Demographics

We examined demographics surrounding polluting facilities in the US. We focused on areas within 3 miles of facilities and our findings are as follows:

  • Higher % minorities within 3 miles of polluting facilities, lower % offsite releases by weight and toxicity (Higher off-site can be generally assumed to be better)
  • Higher % of minorities within 3 miles of polluting facilities, higher toxicity per lb of on-site releases (If off-site is higher, then the facility is releasing “more toxic” releases away from the facility)
  • % of offsite releases by weight and toxicity increases with income
  • Toxicity per pound of releases increases with poverty level

This is how total pollutants, total hazard and RSEI Scores (provides a measure of risk) are associated with demographics:

Variable                                  Total Releases     Total Hazard        RSEI Scores

Compared to reference group: % minority <5 percent %Minority>90                            Higher**               Higher**               Higher*
% Minority 75-90                                                                                      Higher**
% Minority 25-50                                                                                      Higher**

Compared to reference group % below poverty level <5
%below poverty level>25          Higher**               Higher*
% below poverty level 10 to 25                                Higher**
Population>50K                          Lower**               Lower**               Lower**
% without high                                                                                                  school diploma>35                   Lower**                Lower*

According to this table, polluting facilities with more than 90% of population being minorities within 3 miles radius have total releases, higher total hazard, and higher RSEI scores compared to facilities with less than 5 percent of minorities.

Based on Regression Analysis

Variable                          % on-site releases        % on-site     onsite releases                                                                                    hazard          % of total
% minority>90                        Higher**               Higher**
% minority 75-90                                                                          Higher**
% minority 50-75                                                                          Higher**
% minority 25-50                                                                          Higher**
% below poverty level > 25   Higher**               Higher*
% below poverty level 10-25                                 Higher*
Population>50K                     Lower**                 Lower**       Lower**
% without HS Diploma>35  Lower**                  Lower*         Higher*

 

% Change in Releases by Weight and Toxicity and Likelihood of score change > 10 percent, 1999-2006

Variable                       %change            % change          Likelihood of scores                                         by weight           by toxicity          changing by 10%

% below poverty        Reduce**                                                                               10 to 25 percent

% below poverty        Reduce**                                                                              5 to 10 percent

Population>50K        Reduce**                                  1.3 likelihood scores will                                                                                           not rise more than 10%
% without diploma>35                         Increase**

Takeaways

* No association between County Toxicity in 1996 and Population Change between 1991 and 2001.
* Positive association between County Toxicity in 1996 and Per Capita Income Change between 1991 and 2001
* Manufacturing Dependent Counties have higher Mean Toxicity
* Housing Stressed Counties have Higher Mean Toxicity
* Low Education Counties have Lower Mean Toxicity
* Low Employment Counties have Lower Mean Toxicity
* Persistent Poverty Counties have Lower Mean Toxicity.
* Persistent Population Lose Counties have lower Mean Toxicity .

Banks and income smoothing: an empirical analysis

Do banks cook up the books? The answer is yes. However, not all banks do. Some banks do. They usually have low growth, low book-to-asset ratio, high loans-to-deposit ratio, high debt-to-asset ratio, low market-to-book value ratio, low return on assets, high loan-loss provisions to gross loans ratio and low assets. And wall street knows about them and wall street analysts typically give lower valuations to them.

The income smoothing hypothesis is examined for large banks that reported their earnings over the period 1981–1991. It is analysed whether banks use loan-loss provisions to manipulate earnings. Results suggest that banks with close relationships between their loan-loss provisions and their earnings before loan-loss provisions but after taxes do tend to have smooth earnings. This conclusion is statistically significant within the 5% level. An examination of the influence of firm-specific conditions on the time-series behaviour of the provisions for loan losses reveals that the Tax Reform Act of 1986 does not have an impact on income smoothing. We find that banks with low growth, low book-to-asset ratio, high loans-to-deposit ratio, high debt-to-asset ratio, low market-to-book value ratio, low return on assets, high loan-loss provisions to gross loans ratio and low assets are likely to smooth their earnings. Our analysis indicates that the stock market perceives the income-smoothing behaviour of banks.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/096031096333953?journalCode=rafe20#preview

FAST FOOD CONSUMPTION AND OBESITY

Fast food consumption has been considered as a major cause for obesity in the US. The purpose of this paper is to examine the association between the average frequencies of eating a meal from a fast-food restaurant per week and the obesity measured in terms of Body Mass Index (BMI). Our analysis based on a nationwide survey of Americans indicate that a meal from a fast food restaurant per week on an average increases the BMI by 0.16 or 0.17 after adjusting for race, gender, education, marital status, age, and income. However, our analysis does not find a similar effect for meals eaten from any restaurant. When people were asked to rank on a scale from very important to not at all important whether the kinds of foods marketed in restaurants and grocery stores as a cause for their obesity, ranking increases from not at all important to very important as obesity measured in BMI increases. In other words, higher is a person’s BMI, more importance a person assigns to the cause for their obesity being the kinds of foods marketed in restaurants and grocery stores.

Pharmaceutical R&D Spending: Do Legal Origin and Prices Matter?

In this paper, we examine whether legal origin of a country and
pharmaceutical prices have any impact on the pharmaceutical R&D
spending. Our analysis shows that countries with Socialist and
French legal origins have lower pharmaceutical R&D intensities
than English legal origin countries. Scandinavian legal origin
countries have higher pharmaceutical R&D intensities than English
legal origin countries. Our analysis does not find any statistically
significant differences in pharmaceutical R&D intensities in
German and English legal origin countries. The pharmaceutical
prices have positive influence on the pharmaceutical R&D
intensities. The per capita GDP of a country is found to have no
statistically significant influence on the pharmaceutical R&D
intensities.

http://www.easternct.edu/ecsu/docs/IABTBinder3.pdf

page 290

 

 

TOTAL QUALITY: AN EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT TOOL

The purpose of this paper is to discuss total quality management
(TQM) . Very few service companies have been able to reap full
benefits of TQM. One major reason for its inadequate success is
that of trying to implement in service companies techniques that
have been successful in manufacturing. In manufacturing, emphasis
of TQM is on “zero defects”. Control charts and sampling are the
major tools of quality control. However, in services, emphasis is
on “zero defections”. Focus is on customer satisfaction and team
approach. TQM can boost profits and improve customer satisfaction.
However, success depends on knowing how to implement TQM in service
companies.

https://www.casact.org/pubs/dpp/dpp93/93dpp.pdf

pages 101-124

The Rise of Corporate Stakeholders

In recent years, U.S. corporations have reduced environmental emissions and — in response to pressures from governments, investors, environmental groups, customers, and employees — are developing “cradle-to-grave” pollution prevention strategies. Increasingly, corporate leaders see that managing environmental issues effectively can be a significant source of competitive advantage and sustainable growth.

eJournal USA – The greening of US Corporations

http://www.usembassy-mexico.gov/bbf/ej/0308_GreeningUSCorporations.pdf

In the Senate

U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works
U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works
Hearing Statements
Date:   05/13/2004
Statement of Senator Joseph I. Lieberman
Environmental Regulations in Oil Refining

Statement of Senator Joe Lieberman
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
Hearing to Examine the Regulatory Framework Affecting Oil Refining and Gasoline Policy May 12, 2004Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for calling this important hearing today. With gas prices rising to their highest level in decades, I appreciate this forum to focus on the causes. However, I do not believe that the environmental regulatory framework – the focus of today’s hearing – is truly to blame for these problems.

 

Any claims that environmental regulations at oil refineries are to blame for recent gas price spikes should fall upon deaf ears – the two are not related. For the refineries that we will hear about today, environmental regulations are not a new or different expense. They are known costs of doing business, and any well-run business would have accounted for these costs in their plans long before it would have to spike gas prices or run short of production.

 

Widely accepted academic reviews of the oil and gas industry bolster this argument. For example, one paper by Eli Berman of Boston University from 1998 analyzed the effect of environmental regulations on the oil refineries in the Los Angeles Air Basin and found that despite regulatory obligations, productivity in the Los Angeles Basin rose sharply, at a time when other regions were experiencing decreased refinery capacity. I believe this example casts doubt on the veracity of claims that environmental regulations are strangling the refining capacity of this country. Mr. Chairman, I ask that this paper be submitted for the record.

 

Another paper by Vasanthakumar Bhat of Pace University from 1998 analyzed an oil refinery with a good environmental compliance record and found that compliance actually had a positive effect on the firm’s bottom line. The paper concluded that in order to comply with environmental regulations companies had to become innovative and efficient. Because they found ways to create a more cost-effective processes to reduce emissions they ended up with a higher profit margin. Mr. Chairman, I also ask that this paper be submitted for the record.

 

In fact, in recent history, the refining capacity of the United States has expanded, not shrunk. According to EIA data, total U.S. refinery capacity has been growing all through the 1990’s, despite environmental regulations. Mr. Chairman, I ask that a chart from the Energy Information Administration’s March 2004 presentation on refining capacity be placed in the record.

 

Now, the provisions of the Clean Air Act that apply regulation to the refineries’ products admittedly may result in a patchwork quilt of varying gasoline requirements throughout the nation, which could make it more difficult for refiners to provide a secured supply to all areas. But we tried to address that problem, Mr. Chairman, in S. 791 that passed unanimously through this committee. Unfortunately, the delicate compromise that S. 791 represented – a compromise between American Petroleum Institute, the corngrowers, and environmental interests – was decimated by the energy bill conference and the insistence of MTBE producers on liability protection, a delayed phase out of MTBE, noxious legislative findings, and several other poisonous provisions. I fear that the greed displayed in that conference may have set back our attempts to fix the gasoline requirements through the nation for a while to come.

 

But none of this would be so much of a problem if our nation did not have an ever-expanding appetite for petroleum products. How can we act surprised that oil prices are on the rise – give the laws of supply and demand – when Congress continues to refuse to raise the nation’s fuel economy standards even the slightest bit? In a time when we do not wish to be dependant on the Middle East for reasons of national security, and in a time when the OPEC cartel is turning off the spigots to our economy, our nation must come to grips with our addiction to oil and begin to wean ourselves away from it.

 

Finally, as we look for a culprit for the gas price spikes, I think it is important not to overlook the most obvious possibility. In the first quarter of this year, we all know that gas prices were abnormally high. In the first quarter of this year, we also know that the oil industry reported record profits – according to one company, as a result of “higher prices for its products.” Wouldn’t it be a reasonable assumption to make that the oil industry’s high profits were financed by high prices at the pump? I recognize there are more complexities involved here, and OPEC is driving up the prices of oil throughout the world, but if one were to take a step back and view the larger picture, it just may be that simple.

 

The bottom line is that the rise in oil and gas prices is indeed a serious problem for my constituents and for our nation and deserves investigation and hopefully a solution. But, to make the unsupported conclusion that the prices are somehow caused by environmental regulations, while ignoring the more obvious causes and effects, is not a productive way to get prices down. It is merely a convenient way to use a very real and immediate problem to chip away at environmental protections designed to protect our health and environment.

 

Attachment 1: Bhat, V. “Does Environmental Compliance Pay?” Ecotoxicology 1998.

 

Attachment 2: “Environmental Regulation and Productivity: Evidence from Oil Refiners,” National Bureau of Economic Research.

 

 

http://www.epw.senate.gov/hearing_statements.cfm?id=221478

Health systems performance: a statewide analysis.

In this study, we examine the statewide consumption of health care resources. We assume that the physicians, hospital beds, nurses, and pharmaceuticals represent inputs to the health care delivery system required to treat the population of each state. Since health care resources needed by the various age groups of the population are different, we categorize the population into under 18 years of age, 18 to under 65 years of age, and 65 years of age and older. We develop efficient production frontiers and estimate the overall efficiency of individual states, and also the efficiencies of four inputs. In addition, we estimate the excess number of physicians, nurses, hospital beds, and pharmaceuticals consumed. This study should be useful for the states to help identify appropriate policy measures to make their health delivery systems more efficient.

http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/12908655/reload=0;jsessionid=n0R8lrZ1X0CGEl9CSywN.18

Does Environmental Compliance Pay?

This paper examines the relationship between the environmental compliance and financial performance of large US companies. The environmental performance is measured in penalties assessed for violations of environmental regulations. The financial performance is represented by the profit margins. The regression models developed in this paper suggest that the degrees of environmental compliance have a positive influence on the profit margins. Conventional economic wisdom is that regulations impose costs and restrictions and, therefore, put companies at a competitive disadvantage. However, this paper is consistent with the proponents of environmental regulations who argue that tough regulations force companies to be innovative and as a result make them more productive.

Ecotoxicology, August 1998, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 221-225

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1008938811813

Strategic planning for pollution reduction

Pollution reduction is one of the most challenging problems confronting corporations in the 1990s. Growing public concern, stricter enforcement of laws and regulations, sky rocketing clean-up costs, and multi-billion dollar liability suits are putting increasing pressures on companies to take action against pollution. This article describes how pollution reduction can be incorporated in the Business Planning process.

Long Range Planning
Volume 25, Issue 4, August 1992, Pages 54–61

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/002463019290008P

 

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