The Relief Report

A newsletter covering regulatory reform efforts in Washington and across America, published by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 20 F Street NW, Suite 700 , Washington, D.C. 20001 (202) 507-6398, Fax (301) 498-1301.

Issue #32 * November 22, 1995 * David A. Ridenour, Editor

Hill Watch - Regulatory relief initiatives on Capitol Hill

Representative Chabot Introduces Bill to Save the Environment, End Agriculture Subsidies

Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Major Owens (D-NY) have introduced legislation that could help save the environment. The legislation, the Fairness in Agriculture Act (H.R. 2523), would take the federal government out of the agriculture business entirely, helping the environment in the process. According to a recent study by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the current farm policy wreaks environmental havoc by, among other things, encouraging farmers to use more pesticides and fertilizers then they would otherwise. This occurs because whenever the federal government wishes to reduce agricultural surpluses it simply places restrictions on the number of acres it permits to be planted of a given commodity. With fewer acres allotted, farmers use more chemicals and fertilizers to increase crop yields -- and therefore profits -- per acre. The complete elimination of subsidies -- as proposed by Representatives Chabot and Owens -- could reduce chemical use per acre by up to 35% and fertilizer use by up to 29% per acre, according to CEI. "The federal government simply does not belong in agribusiness," said Representative Chabot. "Unlike the current politically-inspired patchwork of subsidies... Our bill is broad-based and fair: We act even-handedly to get the federal government out of the agriculture business entirely." For more information about the bill, contact Terry Condia of Representative Chabot's office at (202)225-6834. For information on the environmental impact of farm programs, contact the Competitive Enterprise Institute at (202)331-1010.

Democrat Lawmakers Release Congressional Research Service Report on Secondhand Smoke

Reports indicate that President Clinton intends to stress his Administration¹s commitment to increasing tobacco regulations in his campaign for re-election next year. But the President¹s strategy may be undermined by a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report commissioned by two fellow Democrats: anti-tobacco Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Senator Wendell Ford (D-KY). The 75-page CRS report, ³Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Lung Cancer Risk,² released November 14, raises significant questions about the reliability of EPA and OSHA studies used as the basis for regulations banning workplace smoking, noting, for example, that ³the EPA made no attempt to assess the lung cancer risk from occupational (i.e. workplace) exposure...² Senator Ford commented, in part: ³In the twenty months CRS has conducted this review, their work finds no basis for continuing with forced smoking bans. Given this information, I think it¹s time for Big Brother government to get out of the lives of working adults.² Another Democrat, Representative Scotty Baesler (D-KY), told the Associated Press: ³The CRS report proves what we¹ve been saying all along, OSHA has been blinded by bad science.²

Action Items - What you can do to promote the regulatory relief agenda

Begin Laying the Groundwork for Regulatory Relief Battles in 1996

As 1995 draws to a close, the public policy agenda will increasingly be dominated by the budget battle, leaving little time for regulatory relief initiatives. This is a good time to begin laying the groundwork for 1996. By now, it is no secret that the regulatory reform agenda lost some of its focus in the second half of 1996, thanks in part to a hostile press and disinformation of environmental groups. Grassroots activists should take the opportunity over the next several months to write letters to the editor, opinion/editorials and telephone radio and television talk show and emphasize the importance of regulatory relief in the new year -- both to people and the environment. Before writing opinion/editorials and letters to the editor, activists should ask themselves the following questions, in this order:

  1. Does the regulation you wish reformed or abolished produce the environmental, health and safety benefits it was intended to produce? If not, explain in your article why not. This will underscore the need for reform.
  2. Does the regulation have unforeseen, unintended negative consequences for the environment, health and safety? By detailing these negative consequences in your articles, you will show how the relief agenda can be beneficial to the environment, health and safety.
  3. Are there other, less expensive, more effective means of producing the same or better results?
  4. Are there opportunity costs of the regulation? Do the costs of implementing the regulation mean that insufficient resources are available for more dire threats to the environment, health and human safety?
  5. Is the federal government ‹ or state and local government ‹ best suited to administer the regulation?
  6. Are the benefits of the regulation worth the economic costs? What are the human costs of the regulation?

By answering these simple questions before beginning your opinion/editorials and letters, your articles will more effective communicate your sincere concern both for working Americans and the environment.

Help Identify "Regulatory Victims."

The National Center for Public Policy Research continues to build on its database of regulatory victims. Please fax regulatory victims stories to Bob Adams at (301) 498-1301.

Consider Donating to the Relief Report

So that the Relief Report can continue providing you with up-to-date information on regulatory relief agenda, consider sending in a tax-deductible contribution today. Suggested donations: $300 Corporate; $100 Non-Profit; $50 Individual. Make checks payable to: The National Center for Public Policy Research, 20 F Street, NW #700, Washington, D.C. 20001.

Victims' Corner - Stories of personal tragedy or government folly

Firefighters Get Burned by OSHA Regulations

The Sioux City, Iowa fire department should have received a special commendation for coming to the aid of the small Salix fire squad during the Terra fertilizer plant explosion last December. Instead, it received a $24,000 fine from the Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA). IOSHA claimed that the Sioux City fire department violated safety regulations when it failed to take charge of emergency operations -- and thus incur liability -- at the fire after the Salix squad left the scene. If permitted to stand, the fine could jeopardize cooperation agreements between hazardous materials squads throughout the state and perhaps even nationwide.

"Putting People Back Into the Regulatory Equation"

All correspondence to The Relief Report should be directed to:

The National Center for Public Policy Research * 20 F Street NW, #700 * Washington, D.C. 20001
Tel. (202) 507-6398 * Fax (301) 498-1301 * E-mail [email protected]

©1995, The National Center for Public Policy Research. Coverage of meetings, activities or statements in The Relief Report does not imply endorsement by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Excerpts may be reprinted provided that original source is credited.

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Phone: (202) 507-6398 Fax: (301) 498-1301