CASE: Monarch Butterflies, People of Santa Cruz, EPA and Synertex Corp
Synertex, a high-tech circuit board manufacturer, wants to build a $40 million facility in Santa Cruz near Natural Bridges State Park, a coastal refuge of tide pools and eucalyptus forests where thousands of migrating Monarch butterfly gather each year from November through March. Thousands of visitors come to the park each weekend to observe the butterflies and other wonders of nature. The proposed Synertex plant would sometimes release into the air small amounts of hydrocarbons as well as sulfur and nitrogen oxides, and these would be blown in the direction of the park by prevailing winds 20 percent of the time. Although the fumes would be 99 percent diluted by the time they reached the butterfly groves, “there is no available data” on the effects these diluted fumes would have on the butterflies. The company can bring as many as 400-600 jobs to the city, substantial tax revenues and other economically favorable factors. Synertex has further agreed to monitor the effects of any environmental pollution at the butterfly site, but hasnt indicated it would do anything to correct any harm, should it be detected. You are a resident of Santa Cruz, a homeowner, an avid surfer, and work as an assistant researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
TASK: Write a letter to the editor of the local paper The Santa Cruz Sentineloutlining a policy and course of action to be taken. (Around 600 words)
Look at the situation in terms of rights, justice, utility and care.
Rights: Concerns the basic needs and welfare of individuals.
Justice: Concerns how the positive and negative effects of an action or a policy can be distributed fairly among a group.
Utility: Concerns the positive and negative effects an action or policy might have on the general public.
Care: Concerns the relationships we have with other individuals.
Discuss the benefits of building the Synertex plant. In your judgment, do the benefits outweigh the costs? Explain Who should have the right to make the final decision in the Synertex case? Local townspeople? Tourists? State government? The federal government? Synertex management? Explain your answers. Do wildlife issues differ in any important ways from pollution issues or from issues concerning the depletion of energy resources?