The article "Fundraiser Denies Link Between Money, Access" [front page, May 17] alleged that Cintas founder and chairman Richard T. Farmer somehow influenced rulemaking at the Environmental Protection Agency through campaign contributions to Republican candidates. This is false.

Mr. Farmer has participated in the democratic process, backing a political party and candidates who share his views.

In trying to connect one man's open participation in our political process to a mundane regulatory footnote -- one that has little effect on Cintas, because shop towels represent a small fraction of the company's business -- The Post maligns a company employing 27,000 Americans.


Vice President, Corporate Communications

Cintas Corp.



The May 17 article by James V. Grimaldi and Thomas B. Edsall outlined an Environmental Protection Agency rulemaking effort that attempts to correct a regulatory dichotomy that inappropriately favored one class of industrial wiping products -- laundered shop towels -- over non-laundered alternatives.

While both wipes are used the same way, with the same solvents at the same types of facilities, non-laundered wipes have been regulated by the EPA since the 1970s, while regulation of laundered shop towels has been left to the states. The result is a sometimes conflicting hodgepodge of policies.

Millions of gallons of chemical solvent are being discharged into public water systems every year from the laundering of industrial wipes. Towel for towel, the amount of solid waste sent to landfills in the form of sludge and debris from laundered shop towels is equivalent to, and in some cases greater than, the amount of solid waste generated by the disposal of non-laundered wiping products.

The data refute claims that "reusable shop towels are friendlier to the environment," as Richard T. Farmer of Cintas Corp. said in the article.

The EPA conceived this rulemaking as an opportunity to develop a national policy to minimize the environmental release of chemical solvents while establishing equal regulatory treatment for both classes of wiping products.

These goals are laudable. But the EPA is not there yet in this rulemaking effort, so we filed public comments with the agency on April 9 outlining several changes.

It would be a shame, therefore, if the EPA decides not to finalize the proposed rule because of political considerations or, worse, elects to finalize the rule in its proposed form. The proposal should be altered so that laundered and non-laundered wiping products are treated more uniformly.


Director of Government Affairs

INDA -- Association of the Nonwoven

Fabrics Industry

Falls Church


Executive Vice President

Secondary Materials

and Recycled Textiles Association