If you are not already a member of the Marble Institute of America (MIA), you might want to consider the following two points:  

1. Silly Lies Cause Harm:  The lies regarding radon and natural stone countertops may be silly and without scientific merit, but that does not mean that the lies will go away. The MIA has been effective in fighting the periodic repetition of these old stories. Lest you think that the actual damage caused by lies is negligible, consider the damage done to Procter & Gamble when in the 1980s foolish people began reporting that the management consisted of “Devil Worshipers.” It took two decades and a great deal of legal cost to finally bring the creators of the lie to court. (P&G won the trial, but the damage done was incalculable). Individual stone shops do not have the resources to deal with these problems, but by pooling resources, the industry has a voice and media that cares and knows where to go for accurate information.

2. Ill-informed Government Regulators Cause Harm: Regulators from various government departments are looking at our industry. I have observed that these agencies seldom send out qualified engineers to examine problems; they are mostly staffed with lawyers and activists. Consider what the EPA did to the city of Green Bay, WI during the Reagan administration. The city of Green Bay had an air pollution problem. Local industry leaders got together and funded an independent engineering study to determine the best way to solve the problem. The EPA rejected the study by a highly qualified engineering firm because they had their own “ideas” on how to solve the problem. I attended the hearings and noticed that the government did not send a single engineer — just activists. The technology advocated by the EPA had already been extensively tested and it was a proven failure. The firms involved were ordered to reduce SO2 in the stacks. Green Bay lost a pulp mill along with hundreds of highly paid union jobs and over 100 engineering jobs. Several firms scrapped expansion plans, which would have employed hundreds of additional workers. 

Together stone shops can have a voice. Individually, I doubt that they will be heard. Your MIA membership dues will go towards addressing these problems. If you think these points are compelling, go to the website www.marble-institute.com and on the upper right hand corner there is a “Join MIA” button.  

If you are not convinced, go to the MIA center at StonExpo and ask the folks there why you should join. There are other reasons, and hopefully some will compel you to join.

Hope you enjoy this issue of the SRG. Stop by the Braxton-Bragg booth B778 and see us at StonExpo, and World of Concrete booth S12839.

Rich Hassert

P.S. I chose a Republican example for my government illustration since I have received negative letters in the past about bashing Democrat administrations. I personally believe that we need protection from both political parties.

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