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Pollution in Water Discharges.

 Write your answer in the form of a memo (or business e-mail). Present your arguments clearly, and state arguments that support your position as well as arguments that don’t (that is, explain why counter argument are wrong). Be persuasive, use clear, concise language, good grammar and correct spelling. Make sure your conclusions are supported by your arguments. The length of your memo/email should be around 800 words. Given this dilemma you find yourself in, write a memo to your boss recommending the course of action you think you should follow. Consider the following issues in your response: Who is included in the moral audience? What are your options in this case? What is your moral obligation(s)? What is your dilemma? What guidance does the Engineering Code of Ethics provide. What would a Utilitarian do? What would a follower of Kant do? Explain how these theories apply to this case (consider both of Kant’s formulations). What should you do? Justify your decision using the moral theories above. What other actions can you take to meet other ethical obligations that are unmet by your choice? How do you think you should respond to the plant manager’s requests? Are there legal issues that you should consider? For the solution you choose, consider the long-term consequences and consider what could go wrong in the worst case. Pollution in Water Discharges You work in a small town where everyone knows each other. You have been lifelong friends with many of the people in town. In fact, many of your friends and relatives work with you at the local plant that is the largest employer in the area. As a newly graduated engineer from URI, you have been assigned the position of environmental engineer for the local plant whose water discharges flow into a lake in a flourishing tourist area. Included in your responsibilities is the monitoring of water and air discharges at your plant and the preparation of monthly reports to be submitted to the Department of Natural Resources. You have just prepared a current report that indicates that the level of pollution in the plant’s water discharges slightly exceeds legal limitations. This will result in the plant being closed and the plant workers being placed on unpaid furlough until new testing can prove that the effluence meets legal limitations. The plant manager asks you not to submit the report until the company has retested the discharge levels to assure that the standard is being met. The plant manager feels that the excess levels were due to a particularly high requirement for a product that is not currently being processed. He is confident that current discharge levels are acceptable. The testing is complex and will take 3-4 weeks to produce results. He says that the slight excess should not endanger human or fish life and he believes the plant is currently in compliance. He asks you to weigh the effect of publishing the report on time. That this could bring unwanted attention to a plant that is marginally profitable at best. After all, plant workers would be laid off for 3-4 weeks while the retesting was being conducted which would be a considerable hardship. The plant manager further states that your predecessor occasionally delayed a monthly discharge report for the same reason. The company would pay the fine due for not filing the effluent report on time. No data would be kept from the regulators. The original report indicating the excess effluent levels would be published at the same time as the retest (about a month late). This would prevent the plant closing and the associated adverse publicity that would result from a report showing the plant was polluting.

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