Issue #13 * May 6, 1995 * David A. Ridenour, Editor

Hill Watch - Regulatory relief initiatives on Capitol Hill

OSHA Reform Bill to be Introduced in the House:

Congressman Cass Ballenger (R-NC) will introduce a bill later this month to reform the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The bill, still in draft form, proposes placing restrictions on OSHA's issuance of citations; codifying a small business exemption from OSHA inspections; limiting OSHA fines for paperwork to violations that have a direct or immediate relationship to safety and health; restricting OSHA's use of its "egregious case policy," under which OSHA issues fines for each instance of a violation; and overhauling the appeals process. While the draft bill is viewed by many as a step in the right direction, it does have several weaknesses, including a provision to establish a "independent" Workforce Protection Standards Board. The Board would consist of six political appointees who together would have the authority to modify, rescind and even promulgate job health and safety regulations. Critics say that this board does not directly address the problem and that OSHA staff could simply be rehired by the board. They also fear that the Board, like all other federal agencies, would grow into a massive bureaucracy and become too powerful, unresponsive and too expensive. A number of business and industry groups -- both small and large -- have expressed concern about the establishment of a Workforce Protection Standards Board, including the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Roofing Contractor's Association. "We're not looking for any additional boards or panels," said Craig Brightup of the National Roofing Contractor's Association. "We're looking for more consultation, streamlining and cuts in OSHA's budget. OSHA sees businesses in the pejorative and operates in far too punitive a fashion. That's got to change; we've got to root out a culture within the agency."

Full House to Consider Clean Water Act Amendments Next Week:

The Clean Water Act Amendments of 1995, H.R. 961, will be considered by the full House May 10-12. Among H.R. 961's provisions: (a) risk assessment/cost-benefit analysis, requiring EPA to subject its mandates and regulations to risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis consistent with the provisions of H.R. 9, approved by a wide margin in March; (b) takings protection, reaffirming this basic constitutional right, encouraging the federal government to focus efforts on truly valuable resources and establishing a reasonable definition of wetlands; (c) streamlined regulations, providing state and local officials with a uniform set of guidelines for managing non-point source pollution; and (d) funding, in the sum of $15 billion over five years to the State Revolving Fund to assist communities finance wastewater infrastructure.

Congress to Decide Soon on National Biological Survey Funding:

Within the next few weeks, Congress will decide on whether or not to fund the National Biological Survey (NBS) for another year. The NBS, which seeks to map, assess, protect and manage the nation's biological resources, has been used to greatly increase the power and scope of the Endangered Species Act. When endangered species are found, the NBS moves to cut off grazing permits, timber contracts, farming, water, mining and recreation activities in the area. It can also exert control over private property by threatening landowners and local governments with termination of federal grants, loans, etc. The NBS has never been authorized by Congress.

Action Items - How you can promote the regulatory relief agenda

Regulatory Relief Groups Urged to "Weigh-in" on OSHA Reform:

Regulatory relief groups are being urged to weigh-in on the OSHA reform bill by contacting members of the House Economic and Educational Opportunities Commission's Worker Protections Subcommittee and letting subcommittee members know how they feel about the creation of a new Workforce Protection Standards Board and other provisions of the draft bill. Media may contact Craig Brightup of the National Roofing Contractor's Association at (202)546-7584.

Groups Urged to Get the Word Out on Clean Water Act:

With a vote on the Clean Water Act Amendments of 1995, H.R. 961, likely next week, regulatory relief groups are being asked by the Clean Water Industry Coalition to activate their grassroots in support of the measure. The EPA and environmental organizations continue to strongly oppose H.R. 961 and have portrayed it as an attempt to undo 20 years of progress in improving the nation's waters. This simply isn't true, says the Coalition. To address the remaining pollution will require the kind of innovation, flexibility and cooperative atmosphere that H.R. 961 would foster. The Coalition is asking all regulatory relief groups to tell their press contacts about the benefits of Clean Water Act reform and to urge Members of Congress to support H.R. 961. Media may contact Charlie Ingram of the Clean Water Industry Coalition at (202)463-5627.

Hill Calls in Opposition to National Biological Survey Urged:

Chuck Cushman of the American Land Rights Council is urging organizations supportive of the regulatory reform agenda to place calls to both Senate and House offices to urge termination of NBS funding. Callers should say that the new Congress should honor its commitment to deny funding to all programs that have not been authorized, including the NBS. Media may contact NBS for a press briefing kit, call (206)687-3087.

Bulletin Board - News from regulatory relief groups

Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise to Release Study on Environmental Movement's Government Funding:

The Bellevue, Washington-based Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise will release a study entitled, "Feeding at the Trough: The Environmental Movement's Government Grants, Tax Subsidies, Leveraged Incomes, and Controversial Expenditures," at a Capitol Hill press conference to be held at 11:00 A.M. on Tuesday, May 9 in Room 1129 Longworth House Office Building. Media may contact Ron Arnold of The Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise at (206)455-5038.

Grassroots ESA Coalition Established:

A grassroots coalition for effective ESA reform has been launched. For a statement of principles and other information media may contact Chuck Cushman of the American Land Rights Council at (206)687-3087.

Victims' Corner - Stories of personal tragedy and government folly

Army Corps of Engineers Orders Illinois Man to Replace Wilderness Area with Dump:

Several years ago, Steve Lathrop of Granite City, Illinois purchased a city dump to clean it up and develop it. The dump was not only an eyesore, but the swampland on which it was built frequently caused flooding problems for neighboring residents. Lathrop cleaned up the site and provided sufficient drainage so that local homes would no longer be flooded during heavy rains. In addition to building apartments, he constructed a wilderness area where endangered egrets could feed. Just about everyone was pleased with Lathrop's improvement -- local residents because the flooding stopped and Ducks Unlimited because of the wilderness area. Everyone, that is, but the Army Corps of Engineers. They charged that Lathrop violated federal wetlands protections and ordered him to return the land to its original condition -- dump and all.

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Issue #14 * May 12, 1995 * David A. Ridenour, Editor

Hill Watch - Regulatory relief initiatives on Capitol Hill

Senators Propose Endangered Species Act Reform:

On May 9, Senators Slade Gorton (R-WA), J. Bennett Johnston (D-LA) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) proposed the "Endangered Species Act Reform Amendments of 1995." According to its sponsors, the measure is designed to "bring people back into the equation" and "restore balance to an act that does not now have balance." The bill would not change the current Endangered Species Act listings process. However, it would grant the Secretary of Interior sweeping new authority to determine what level of protection is appropriate on a species-by-species basis. This would permit the Secretary to weigh human factors -- including cultural and economic impact -- of species recovery plans before imposing them. Some private property advocates have argued that while the Gorton proposal has many positive features (including its provisions for improving procedural safeguards and for establishing stricter scientific requirements), it does not go far enough. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, Defenders of Property Rights, The National Center for Public Policy Research, The Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, and the National Wilderness Institute in a letter to Senator Gorton wrote: "Real reform necessitates a complete overhaul of the law -- something your proposal falls far short of accomplishing... Large corporations have the financial wherewithal to hire the attorneys and biologists necessary to navigate a byzantine bureaucracy and comply with a costly and confusing ESA. Large corporations also tend to have additional lands with which to 'mitigate' for 'incidental takings.' Small property owners and independent businessmen rarely have such resources. In short, we are not nearly so concerned with the ESA's statistical impact on economic productivity as we are its impact on the lives of individuals, especially those who cannot afford to abide by its strictures."

"Corrections Day" Slated to Begin as Early as June:

The first "Corrections Day," a day that would be set aside by the House of Representatives to consider only legislation that seeks to repeal outdated, useless or just plain "dumb" regulations, could be held as early as the first week of June. "Corrections Day" may be held as often as once a week -- Congressional leaders are still working out the procedural details.

House Makes Progress on Clean Water Amendments:

As the Relief Report goes to press, the Clean Water Amendments of 1995 (H.R. 961) are still being debated on the House floor. Because H.R. 961 has an open rule, opponents of the reform measure have had ample opportunity to propose amendments -- most of which have been defeated. A substitute offered by Representative Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) that would have gutted H.R. 961, eliminating the risk assessment/cost-benefit analysis, flexibility and wetlands reform provisions of the bill, was defeated by a large margin. A final vote is expected today, Friday, May 12.

Action Items - How you can promote the regulatory relief agenda

Group Urges Calls in Support of Final Passage of Clean Water Act Amendment:

Charlie Ingram of the Clean Water Industry Coalition is urging regulatory relief organizations to call Capitol Hill offices now to urge support for final passage of the Clean Water Act Amendments of 1995 (H.R. 961). Although the bill is still being debated as the Relief Report goes to press, Ingram said he believed the measure would ultimately be approved with few substantive changes.

Begin Nominating Regulations for Corrections Day Now:

Hill staffers are collecting specific examples of out-dated, "dumb," counter-productive and irrational regulations that should be addressed during "Corrections Day." Fax your nominations to Mildred Webber of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee at (202)225-2441; Monica Vegas in the Office of the Majority Whip at (202)225-5117; Mike Piper in Representative Barbara Vucanovich's office at (202)225-2319; or Taylor in Representative Bill Zeliff's office at (202)225-4370.

Send Your Best Regulatory Victims Stories to NBC:

NBC Nightly News is looking for compelling, well-vetted regulatory victim stories for an upcoming broadcast and may begin a regular feature on the topic. If you have stories that you think may be suitable, send the stories along with any supporting documentation you have to: Rich Gardella, NBC Nightly News, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Room 324B, New York, New York 10112.

Bulletin Board - News from regulatory relief groups

Basel Convention Could Subject U.S. Business and Industry to an Unprecedented Regime of Government Control, Group Says:

The Basil Convention, an international agreement signed by President Bush in 1992 ostensibly to stop dumping of hazardous materials in the developing world, has dangerous implications for U.S. business and industry, according the Competitive Enterprise Institute in a new paper, "The Basel Convention: Internationalism's Greatest Folly." According to CEI, there is scarcely a by-product or residue from any agricultural or industrial process that can escape the embrace of the Basel Convention. Even trade in second-hand clothing can be banned under the Basel Convention. Although President Bush signed the Basel Convention and ratified by the Senate, enacting legislation was never approved. Rather than approving such legislation, CEI recommends that the U.S. disavow the Basel Convention. Media may contact James Sheehan of the Competitive Enterprise Institute at (202)331-1010.

Blue Ribbon Coalition Leader Writes About Friend Killed in Bomb Blast. An article about Gil Murray, the California Forestry Association official killed by a package bomb on April 24, written by Don Amador, Chairman of the Blue Ribbon, appeared in California's Brentwood News. Amador said, in part: "By quickly getting back to the business at hand, both the regulatory reform and environmental movements will best honor the memory of Gil and deprive those who oppose solving problems in the political arena.. [a] victory." For a copy, media may contact Don Amador at (510)754-1254.

Victims' Corner - Stories of personal tragedy or government folly

Hospital Fined by EPA for Abiding by EPA Rules:

Ohio hospital administrator John Sloss knows only too well that living by EPA's rules can come at a high cost -- the cost of an EPA fine. In order to comply with EPA regulations requiring his hospital to have an infectious waste incinerator, Sloss placed an order for one of the most technologically-advanced incinerators on the market. But the delivery of the incinerator was delayed due to an EPA "hold" on the sale of all new incinerators. The "hold" had been imposed to give the EPA sufficient time to promulgate new incinerator regulations. While Sloss was waiting for the machine, EPA inspectors showed up and asked to see the hospital's incinerator. He explained that, as he had not been allowed by the EPA to purchase the equipment, he didn't have one to show them. Putting common sense aside, the inspectors fined him anyway.

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Issue #15 * May 21, 1995 * David A. Ridenour, Editor

Hill Watch - Regulatory relief initiatives on Capitol Hill

Regulatory Moratorium to Get Second Chance in Senate:

It appears that the Regulatory Transition Act (H.R. 450), which would establish a moratorium on most federal rulemakings issued between November 20, 1994 and December 31, 1995, will have a second chance in the Senate. This week, the House sent the Regulatory Review Act (S. 219) back to the Senate -- with H.R. 450 rather than S. 219 language. The Regulatory Review Act, a substitute to the Senate version of the Regulatory Transition Act co-sponsored by Senators Don Nickles (R-OK) and Harry Reid (D-NV), was approved by the Senate on March 28 in a 100-0 vote. Senator Nickles was also the Senate sponsor of the Regulatory Transition Act.

House Approves Clean Water Amendments of 1995:

H.R. 961 -- the Clean Water Act Amendments of 1995 -- was approved by the House on May 16, 240-185, with some modest changes. An amendment by Representative Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) to restore a law protecting coastal zones from farm run-off was approved, but was subsequently modified by an amendment offered by Representatives W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (D-LA) and Thomas Petri (R-WI) giving states greater authority in the administration of the law. Another amendment offered by Representative Boehlert that would have expanded the definition of "wetlands" was defeated, 185-242. Commenting on the approval of the measure, Charlie Ingram of the Clean Water Industry Coalition said, "This bill was developed through a strong bi-partisan consensus, which brought the support of the private and public regulated communities, including the governors, cities and towns, all of whom are frustrated by the out-of-date, rigid command-and-control of the present law... The new model of the Clean Water Act can provide more protection at less cost, costs that ultimately are borne by everybody in America."

Property Rights Hearing Scheduled:

The House Resource Committee will hold general oversight hearings on property rights on June 13 from 9:30 A.M.-noon in Room 1334 Longworth House Office Building. The hearings are being organized by the Task Force on Property Rights, Chaired by Congressman John Shadegg (R-AZ).

"Sunset" Bill Emerges from Subcommittee Mark-up:

A substitute to the Regulatory Sunset and Review Act (H.R. 994) -- sponsored by Representatives John Mica (R-FL) and Jim Chapman (D-TX) -- was approved by the National Economic Growth, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee on May 18 on a voice vote. The substitute, offered by Subcommittee Chairman David McIntosh (R-IN), narrows H.R. 994 to apply to only regulations deemed to be "significant" ($50 million in impact or greater) to reduce the risk of expanding the bureaucracy. As approved by the subcommittee, the measure would require existing "significant" federal regulations to terminate in seven years unless reauthorized by the appropriate agencies (with guidance from Congress and the Office of Management and Budget) and subject future "significant" regulations to a three year sunset unless reauthorized.

Subcommittee-Approved Flow Control Bill Termed "Extremely Dangerous":

The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Hazardous Materials, chaired by Representative Mike Oxley (R-OH), reported out a flow control bill on May 18 that critics have labelled "Extremely Damaging." According to Browning-Ferris Industries, the bill as approved by the subcommittee would allow anti-competitive flow control laws to remain in place for generations. For more information, media may contact Richard F. Goodstein of Browning-Ferris Industries at (202)223-8151.

Action Items - How you can promote the regulatory relief agenda

Send-in Your Nominations for "100 Worst Regulations":

The National Center for Public Policy Research is compiling a list of "100 Worst Regulations" for use in future regulatory relief battles. Fax your nominations for this list to David Ridenour at (202)543-5975.

Agency Watch - News from regulatory agencies

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain:

OSHA's Joseph Dear has gone to great lengths to assure Congress and the public that the stories that OSHA inspectors have issued fines for such things as failing to fill out Material Data Safety Sheets for dishwashing liquid are untrue. Apparently, John Miles, director of OSHA compliance programs disagrees. In a March 21 memo to OSHA regional administrators, he wrote: "[Hazard communication standard] citations have been issued for materials such as brick, rebar, lubricating oils, welding rods and dishwashing liquid without adequate documentation..."

Victims' Corner - Stories of personal tragedy or government folly

Trucking Company to EPA - "No Tanks":

Vernon E. Garner of Garner Trucking, Inc. near Findley, Ohio spent $126,000 to dig up and dispose of nine underground storage tanks because the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act permitted the Environmental Protection Agency and state regulators to make keeping them prohibitively expensive. Last year, Garner was told he had to either install monitoring wells and make his tanks more corrosion-resistant -- a process too costly for his small firm -- or dig the tanks up. But that's not Garner's only regulatory problem: Garner was required by the EPA to build a pond -- at a cost of $85,000 plus $7,500 in annual maintenance costs -- to capture storm water that runs off his trucks and parking areas. The problem is -- aside from the tremendous expense -- that pond doesn't do a very good job. In its first ten months, the pond flooded twice, releasing whatever pollutants it contained in the process. Testifying before a House subcommittee in January, Garner said: "I've incurred one-time costs of $352,000 and annual costs of $68,000 at no benefit to myself or anyone else except the local fire department [which uses the pond as a source of water] and a few ducks."

Correction:

The "Victims' Corner" story in issue #13 of The Relief Report incorrectly stated that Steve Lathrop, a Granite City, Illinois developer, was instructed to replace a wildlife area with a dump. Source materials used by The Relief Report stated that Lathrop was instructed to return the land he developed to the condition that he found it. As the land was a city dump when Lathrop purchased it, that would mean replacing a wildlife area and apartments he constructed with the dump. The Relief Report has subsequently learned from Mr. Lathrop, that he was instructed by the Army Corps of Engineers to return the land to its original, pre-dump condition. Although Lathrop was not permitted to complete construction of a wildlife area which includes a two-acre lake where endangered egrets can feed, he is not required to restore the dump. The Relief Report apologizes for any inconvenience this inaccuracy may have caused.

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