I have dealt with regulators from Washington DC (the NRC) through many states including California. In Canada I have interacted with regulators from British Columbia and chatted with Alberta oil sand regulators. They have all been decent people with a commitment to their cause. In most cases we have been able to craft solutions that fit within the regulations and benefitted my clients, the mining companies. In most cases the regulators have participated in open discussions and made suggestions for way to keep things moving.
Yet this past week I was in a place where the mine managers had no kind words for the regulators and a consultant downright screamed at me and told me I knew not of what I talked when I suggested discussing with the regulators permit changes to do things better & safer.
I remarked that it is hard to believe that in this place only were the regulators so unreasonable as to spurn discussions to do things better & safer. Again I was soundly attacked and told I knew not of what I spoke. “Here they are crazy,” was the nicest comment thrown at me. The implication was that I was crazy for contemplating going to the regulators to discuss changing a patently absurd series of actions I was told they demanded.
Digging deeper in defence of mining regulators, I soon discovered two side to the story. Maybe three sides.
- The consultant was benefitting from the regulators demands—is it possible he would rather not change things? I got accused of being unprofessional when I raised that possibility.
- The mining folk admitted they were not squeaky clean. Not sure what that means, but after the chastisement I was getting, I though better of it and let the subject die away.
- The regulators may be too busy to fully explore the facts of the cases I observed that do need deep thought and detailed attention. Afterall, it is not their mandate to advise miners on better, safer ways to work.
So I left that place to return to the city and a hotel where they charged me $17 for an internet connection that did not work. They could not book me in when I arrived as their computer was down, so I sat an hour in the lobby tired and looking stupid. Then the key to my room would not work. And when I checked out, they demanded I pay for the bottle of wine they claimed I drunk. All I had done was pick it up to look at it and they admitted that when I picked it up, it sent an electronic signal to them to charge me. I wonder if they have hidden cameras in the bathroom watching my every move.
I will never go back to the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel again. For maybe there is something in the air of the city that makes people crazy. Except (or maybe including) those I met up with again that I love. It is all so complicated!