Confidentiality is a key component of the Georgia Pollution Prevention Assistance Division’s approach and philosophy of working with Georgia’s industries. The legislation which authorized the creation of the Division also set forth guidance for conducting our work. The confidentiality clause is straight forward and clear on the subject:
The Division shall not disclose to the public any information designated by law as confidential or proprietary provided by any business or industry in the course of developing and implementing pollution prevention and environmental waste reduction assessments and activities. Pollution prevention and environmental waste reduction reports and plans developed by or for any business or industry shall be the property of such business or industry, except as otherwise agreed to and except for such reports as otherwise required by law to be the property of the Division.
Oversimplified, proprietary information is not divulged for any reason not required by law, and reports or excerpts from reports prepared by the Division for a client are not divulged except as agreed to.
The operating policy of the Division is to prepare a report, subject it to internal peer review, and present it to the client. The client is not required to exercise or implement any of the suggestions or options contained in the report. Nor are they required to report results achieved through implementing any of the options presented. However, it should be understood that the Division is interested in and committed to, through various means, transferring lessons learned about pollution prevention from client to client. It is also our desire to showcase companies which have achieved successes in pollution prevention.
The subject of environmental compliance and our role in ensuring compliance often arises in discussions with potential clients. Our policy is based on the understanding that we are not regulators. We are not looking for violations, nor, if a violation is detected, do we report compliance violations. To the extent we detect violations, we may verbally call them to the attention of the client. The exception to this policy is if we should detect a violation which, in our judgement, poses a serious and immediate threat to human health or the environment, we will notify the client of their need to both report and correct it. Should the client fail to report it or give us cause to believe they will not correct the situation, the Division will notify the client of our intent to report it.