1197.1 Preventing Pollution in Massachusetts: The Blackstone Project (Sequel)

The Blackstone Project: Preventing Pollution Before it Happens – 1991 Innovations Winner

This case examines the origins and follows the implementation of a radical restructuring of the way the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection conducts inspections of industrial facilities. Specifically, it tells the story of a pilot program designed both to change the way in which inspections were carried out and the purpose of inspections. The Blackstone Project moved to replace inspections conducted by technical specialists in specific areas – air, water, hazardous waste – with ”cross-media” inspections, in which one inspector would consider an industrial operation as a whole. The project represented a radical departure for a department in which technical specialists had their own culture and history. At the same time, it represented an attempt to replace traditional law enforcement with pollution prevention – single inspectors acting as much as advisors for firms as law enforcers. This meaty case allows for analysis of the ways in which an organization's internal structure relates to its overall mission.