Duty of Government Engineer - Case No. 92-4

TitleDuty of Government Engineer - Case No. 92-4
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication1992
Corporate AuthorsNational Society of Professional Engineers, Board of Ethical Review,, National Academy of Engineering, OEC
Date Published06/2006
PublisherNational Academy of Engineering, Online Ethics Center
Publication LanguageEnglish
KeywordsEmployer/Employee Relationships , ENGINEERING , ENVIRONMENTAL engineering , ENVIRONMENTAL ethics , professional responsibility
AbstractEngineer A, an environmental engineer employed by the state environmental protection division, is ordered to draw up a construction permit for construction of a power plant at a manufacturing facility. He is told by a superior to move expeditiously on the permit and "avoid any hang-ups" with respect to technical issues. Engineer A believes the plans as drafted are inadequate to meet the regulation requirements and that outside scrubbers to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions are necessary and without them the issuance of the permit would violate certain air pollution standards as mandated under the l990 Clear Air Act. His superior believes that plans which involve limestone mixed with coal in a fluidized boiler process would remove 90% of the sulphur dioxide will meet the regulatory requirements. Engineer A contacts the state engineering registration board and is informed, based upon the limited information provided to the board that suspension or revocation of his engineering license was a possibility if he pre pared a permit that violated environmental regulations. Engineer A refused to issue the permit and submitted his findings to his superior. The department authorized the issuance of the permit. The case had received widespread publicity in the news media and is currently being investigated by state authorities.
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