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Corporate Moral Minimums and a Sustainable Society

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Identify and discuss an instance where a corporate entity was responsible for an environmental emergency or problem while maintaining state, local, and federal regulatory compliance. What ethical questions were involved, and how were they handled? How does the issue of the adequacy of regulatory compliance intersect a multi- or transnational corporation with global operations?

NOTE: This is tougher than it may appear at first read - the problem/emergency has to have occurred while the corporate entity was in compliance - in other words, they were, from a regulatory perspective, doing everything right. This eliminates many of the 'rogue's gallery' of companies we referenced in Module 2's DB (BP, etc.). Most, if not all of those, have very poor histories of regulatory compliance.

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One of the longest running, yet barely remembered, environmental disasters in the United States is that of the Centralia, PA coalmine fire. The fire started 27 May 1962 and continues today. The fire began in a former open pit coalmine, being utilized the town of Centralia as a dump. The fire was started as a dump-cleanup project authorized and funded by Centralia Borough Council (DeKok, 1986). The resulting fire made its way through seams of coal at the bottom of the pit and into the mine tunnels below the town. The ground temperatures and toxic fumes ...

Solution Summary

An example of an environmental disaster involving a company that was within regulatory guidelines. Lehigh Valley Coal Company