Issue #19 * June 28, 1995 * David A. Ridenour, Editor

Hill Watch - Regulatory relief initiatives on Capitol Hill

Senate Floor Action on Regulatory Reform Package Delayed Again:

Floor action on the substitute to the Comprehensive Regulatory Reform Act of 1995 (S.343) that was to be considered on the Senate floor yesterday (June 27) was again delayed as Republican lawmakers began talks with Democrat leaders in an effort to avert an anticipated filibuster of the bill. Those talks broke down and by press time (3:30 P.M.), S. 343 appeared likely to reach the Senate floor by 4 P.M. today (June 28). With recess scheduled for this Friday, June 30, proposed amendments to the bill are unlikely to be taken up until after the recess. A filibuster also appears likely. The recent addition of Senator J. Bennett Johnston (D-LA) to the bill, however, greatly improves the odds that a cloture petition will be successful.

Action Alert... Action Alert... Action Alert... Action Alert... Action Alert

Intensify Grassroots Efforts Over the Recess, Regulatory Relief Activists Urge: Regulatory relief advocates are urging intensified grassroots efforts in support of S. 343 over the July 4 recess. This is particularly important, they say, because opponents of reform have started a major push against the measure (see "Tales from the Dark Side" below). Senators identified as likely "swings" include: Baucus, Kerrey (NE), Reid, Bumpers, Nunn, Ford, Breaux, Conrad, Specter, Hollings and Robb.

Victims' Corner - Stories of personal tragedy or government folly

TeleCom Regulation Affects Quality of Life:

Excessive federal regulations in the telecommunications industry have a dramatic impact on the quality of life for many Americans, reducing employment opportunities, increasing prices and reducing disposable income. According to a February 1995 study by the WEFA Group (formerly Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates), the removal of "legal and regulatory barriers to competition, a change from traditional rate-of-return regulation to price regulation for any noncompetitive service, and the complete deregulation of competitive service offerings" would lead to the following: 498,000 new manufacturing jobs, 423,000 new construction jobs and 923,000 new wholesale and retail sector jobs by the year 2005; $900 billion in additional real disposable income ($8,500 per household) over ten years; $162 billion more in annual real personal consumption by 2005; and a $14 billion improvement in the U.S.'s balance of trade.

Wetlands Regulation Makes "Man's House His Castle" -- Sans Castle:

Texas resident Marinus Van Leuzen was ordered by a federal judge to pay $350 per month for 8-12 years and to eventually remove the home he has lived in for over twenty years. Calling Van Leuzen's crime comparable to the "genocidal treatment of this continent's indigenous peoples," the judge also ordered him to erect a 20-foot billboard detailing his crime. The billboard would subject Van Leuzen to the kind of public humiliation the judge believed he deserved. His crime? Illegally filling "a fringe marsh in a tidal cove." Van Leuzen has been forced to dig up his lawn and replace it with a swamp. His modest home is now surrounded by a stagnant, fresh-water moat. Apparently, a man's house is his castle. For more information, media may contact Carol LaGrasse of the Property Rights Foundation of America at (518)696-5748.

Tales from the Dark Side - Activities of regulatory relief opponents

Environmental Group Gears Up for Battle Over S. 343:

The Sierra Club is ginning up its grassroots membership in opposition to the Comprehensive Regulatory Reform Act of 1995, S. 343. In the group's OAction Special Alert - Hard Facts on DoleOs Reg OOReformOO dated June 26, the Sierra Club urges members and supporters to call Senate offices, writing Ocalls are needed to stop this paralysis by analysis bill.O Among other things, the Club argues that if S. 343 is passed, it will Oparticularly damage the small amount of progress made so far in addressing environmental justice issuesO and will tip Othe balance of government protection away from sensitive communities and toward multinationals and big business.O This is a message we can expect Senate offices to be inundated with over the next several weeks and proponents of regulatory relief should be prepared to set the record straight. To that end, to follow are specific charges made by the Sierra Club against S. 343 and some possible responses. Sierra Club Charge: OS. 343 would calculate risk for the 'average' exposure, excluding highly exposed (i.e., low income and minority communities)... populations.O Response: The Comprehensive Regulatory Reform Act would require agencies to identify levels of risk Oto the general population and, where appropriate, to more highly exposed subpopulations.O Sierra Club Charge: OS. 343Os cost-benefit analysis requirement would result in highly impacted communities of color and low-income communities being targeted by polluting industries. Cost-benefit analysis only weighs the economic value of a community, excluding consideration of social or moral considerations.O Response: Under S. 343, a regulatory ObenefitO is defined as a Oreasonably identifiable significant incremental favorable effect that... the rule is designed to produce, including social and economic benefits...O Sierra Club Charge: OS. 343 would represent a major obstacle to agencies and citizens who are working to protect the health and safety of communities by requiring cumbersome and costly additional studies before any enforcement actions or new regulations may be made." Response: The cost of the new cost-benefit analysis and review provisions of S. 343 would be between $160 and $200 million annually, according to the Congressional Budget Office. But at the same time, regulatory compliance costs (which currently run an estimated $600 billion annually) would be reduced as cost-benefit analyses and reviews would result in the recision of unnecessary and/or unjustified regulations. Further, under the proposal, a new regulation would be permitted without cost-benefit analysis if an agency determines that such an analysis is Oimpractical due to an emergency that is likely to result in significant harm to the public.O Sierra Club Charge: OS. 343 claims that risk assessment is a neutral or scientific process. It is not. Risk assessment is characterized by uncertainty, limited knowledge, assumptions, and guesses.O Response: Contrary to the Sierra ClubOs claim, S. 343 assumes that risk assessments N at least under current law N are often neither neutral nor scientific. To make risk assessment more scientific, S. 343 sets out elaborate reporting requirements, including a requirement that agencies provide Oa description of reasonable alternative assumptions, inferences, models or data that were not selectedO for use in the assessment along with an explanation as to why they werenOt used. Assessments would also be subject to scientific peer review. Media may contact David Ridenour at (202) 543-4110 for more information.

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Issue #20 * July 4, 1995 * David A. Ridenour, Editor

Hill Watch - Regulatory relief initiatives on Capitol Hill

Action on Comprehensive Regulatory Reform Act Underway:

A bipartisan substitute to Comprehensive Regulatory Reform Act of 1995 (S. 343) crafted by Senators Robert Dole (R-KS), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Howell Heflin (D-AL) and J. Bennett Johnston (D-LA), hit the floor on June 28. Debate on the measure will resume July 10, after the 4th of July recess. Senators John Glenn (D-OH), Carl Levin (D-MI)), Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and John Kerry (D-MA) are expected to offer a substitute that, if approved, would gut the measure. The substitute, regulatory relief advocates say, must be defeated before real regulatory reform can be approved. The latest version of S. 343, appears to be gaining momentum as Senator John Breaux (D-LA) reportedly will not only support the bill, but will encourage President Clinton to back it.

Congressman McIntosh Holds Hearings on Taxpayer Funding of Lobbying -- Legislation to be Introduced:

On June 29, Congressman David McIntosh (R-IN), Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs, held a hearing on taxpayer-funded political advocacy. Since 1993, the Environmental Protection Agency has distributed more than $90 million in federal grants to special interest groups, including groups that lobby for increasing regulations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club. In an opening statement, Congressman McIntosh said, "Americans will be shocked to know that taxpayers are paying special interest lobbyists to walk the halls of Congress, executive branch offices... to influence their lawmakers... The IRS conservatively reports the federal government gave away more than $39 billion to over 40,000 non-profit organizations in 1990 alone." Congressman McIntosh along with Congressmen Ernest Istook (R-OK) and Bob Erlich (R-MD) have drafted a bill to curtail government financing of political advocacy.

Action Alert... Action Alert... Action Alert... Action Alert... Action Alert

Regulatory Relief Groups Outline Grassroots Message -- Calls to Toll-Free Number Urged:

The regulatory relief coalition groups Project Relief and the Alliance for Reasonable Regulation are urging grassroots activists to place calls to Capitol Hill in support of S. 343. Project Relief and ARR are calling on grassroots activists to send the following key messages to their Senators: 1) "Support passage of S. 343. S. 343 is the only bipartisan regulatory reform bill being offered that will effect positive change in the regulatory process." 2) Vote against the Glenn, Levin, Kennedy, Kerry et al Democratic alternative. It is a weak bill that allows those in favor of maintaining the status quo to say they support 'regulatory reform.' It has no enforcement mechanism." 3) "Vote against any weakening amendments to S. 343." and 4) "Vote for cloture, if necessary, to defeat any anticipated filibuster." Regulatory relief proponents also suggest that particular attention be paid to the following Senators: Bumpers and Pryor (AR), Feinstein (CA), Graham (FL), Nunn (GA), Simon (IL), Ford (KY), Cohen and Snowe (ME), Mikulsi (MD), Baucus (MT), Exon and Kerrey (NE), Conrad and Dorgan (ND), Hollings (SC), Robb (VA), Rockefeller (WV) and Kohl (WI). According to Hill sources, grassroots effort on S. 343 will be critical. Failure to secure enough support for S. 343, they say, could doom regulatory relief efforts down the road, including property rights legislation.

Victims' Corner - Stories of personal tragedy or government folly

Virginia Cattle Rancher Fined for Cleaning Ditches:

Virginia cattle rancher Sherry S. Sullenberger was threatened with fines of $25,000 a day by the Army Corps of Engineers after she cleared built-up silt from several ditches on her land. Although all of the ditches had been in existence for some time -- some dating back more than 100 years -- that didn't prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from claiming that Sullenberger had redirected a stream, a violation of the Clean Water Act. The Corps ordered her to place plugs in the ditches, but the plugs were repeatedly washed out, keeping her in violation of the order. Sullenberger was even-tually cleared of any wrongdoing after old aerial photos revealed that the ditches had been in existence for years. "[The experience] resulted in lost sleep, family problems and tremendous financial stress. Part of the property has been sold... to offset the losses."

Tales from the Dark Side - Activities of regulatory relief opponents

Environmentalists in the Hole on S. 343, Sierra Club's Target List Shows:

A target list issued by the Sierra Club shows just how far environmentalists believe they are in the hole on S. 343. In the group's Action Alert, "No More Right to Know?" dated June 29, the Sierra Club notes, "Many lucky folks are represented by relatively pro-environment Senators. We usually don't spend time lobbying these folks. But sometimes they have to hear from us to resist pressure from the other side and now is one of those times." Among those on the Sierra Club's list of wavering Senators: Bumpers (AR), Dodd (CT), Graham (FL), Ford (KY), Sarbanes (MD), Moynihan (NY), Robb (VA), Rockefeller (WV), Kohl (WI), Feinstein (CA), Lieberman (CT), Inouye (HI), Mikulski (MD), Levin (MI), Daschle (SD), Robert Byrd (WV) and Feingold (WI). The inclusion such Senators as Byrd, Dodd, Feingold, Inouye and Sarbanes in the Sierra Club's list shows how much trouble the environmentalists believe they're in -- if you can't count on the votes of these Senators, then whose can you count on? The Sierra Club is urging supporters to place their calls using the Alliance for Responsible Regulation's toll-free number. This isn't surprising given the Sierra Club's view of private property rights. Those wishing to ask the Sierra Club why it doesn't spend some of its $40 million budget (1991) to pay for its own telephone calls can phone the Sierra Club at (202)547-1141 or send a fax to them at (202)547-6009. As the Sierra Club would urge, "call early and often."

Bulletin Board - News from regulatory relief groups

Court Ruling in Sweet Home Bolsters Case for Endangered Species Act Reform, Group Says:

On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in favor of the Department of Interior and against private property owners in the case, Babbitt vs. Sweet Home Chapter of Communities for a Great Oregon. The Court upheld the U.S. Fish and Wildlife's broadened definition of a "taking" under the Endangered Species Act" to include harm or injury to a protected species resulting from habitat modification. But according to Defenders of Property Rights, there may be good news in the decision. "I see... [the] decision serving as a springboard for badly-needed reform at the legislative level," said Nancy Marzulla, president and chief legal counsel for Defenders. "This is just the sort of shot-in-the-arm that could lead to increased protections for private property owners ..." For more information, media may contact Defenders at (202)686-4197.

Regulatory Takings Compensation Vital, Regardless of Budgetary Impact:

Opponents of government compensation for regulatory takings have argued quite effectively that it would "bust the budget." But according to a new Issue Brief released by the Alexis de Tocqueville Institute, the budgetary impact should not be our prime concern -- protecting rights should. "In addition to requiring compensation, the [fifth] amendment guarantees Americans against self-incrimination... Yet no one argues that it would be cheaper if the police simply forced confessions out of the people." For more information, media may contact Stuart Anderson at (703)351-4969.

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Issue #21 * July 14, 1995 * David A. Ridenour, Editor

Hill Watch - Regulatory relief initiatives on Capitol Hill

Regulatory Reform Bill Weakened by Amendment -- "Mom and Pop" to Take a Hit:

On July 11, the Senate approved an amendment to the Comprehensive Regulatory Reform Act (S. 343) that substantially reduces the scope of the measure. By a vote of 53-45, the Senate approved an amendment offered by Senator J. Bennett Johnston (D-LA) to apply S. 343's cost-benefit analysis and risk assessment provisions only to those regulations with an annual economic cost of $100 million or more. Under an agreement reached between Senator Robert Dole (R-KS) and Senator Johnston, the bill had established $50 million as the threshold. Small "mom and pop" operations and individuals will take the biggest hit from the change as any regulation -- even those with negligible overall impact on the economy -- can represent an insurmountable cost to those of modest means. Joining the chamber's 46 Democrats in support of the amendment were Republicans John Chafee (RI), William Cohen (ME), Mark Hatfield (OR), James Jeffords (VT), William Roth (DE), Olympia Snowe (ME) and Arlen Specter (PA). On July 12, the Senate approved another amendment reducing the scope of the regulatory reform measure. By a vote of 69-31, the Senate approved an amendment -- also offered by Senator J. Bennett Johnston -- to waive cost-benefit analysis and risk assessment studies for certain meat and poultry inspection regulations proposed by the Agriculture Department. The waiver would only apply to regulations for which the agency has issued notice of proposed rule changes by April 1, 1995. The amendment was offered to undercut a broader amendment offered by Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) that was defeated 49-51.

Now, the Good News:

On July 10, in a 60-36 vote, the Senate approved an amendment to S. 343 offered by Senators Sam Nunn (D-GA) and Paul Coverdell (R-GA) that would require federal agencies to conduct cost-benefit analyses for proposed regulations that have a significant impact on a substantial number of small businesses. With the change, all regulations now subject to the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 would be subject to S. 343's cost-benefit analysis and periodic review provisions. The measure would also partially mitigate losses in regulatory relief to small business resulting from the Senate's decision to raise the cost-benefit analysis and risk assessment provisions threshold to $100 million. Senate Democrats voting for this strengthening amendment included: Max Baucus (MT), Jeff Bingaman (NM), Kent Conrad (ND), Byron Dorgan (ND), James Exon (NE), Russ Feingold (WI), Diane Feinstein (CA), Bob Graham (FL), Howell Heflin (AL), Ernest Hollings (SC), Bob Kerrey (NE), Sam Nunn (GA), Charles Robb (VA) and Jay Rockefeller (WV). Republicans joining with 32 Democrats in opposition to the amendment were: John Chafee (RI), William Cohen (ME), Ted Stevens (AK) and William Roth (DE). The Senate also approved, in a 96-0 vote, an amendment that would give the Small Business Administration some input on the order in which regulations currently on the books are reviewed by other agencies. This measure will help ensure that reviews of regulations substantially impacting small businesses will be treated as a priority by other federal agencies.

Action Alert... Action Alert... Action Alert... Action Alert... Action Alert

Urge Senators to Vote for Cloture, Regulatory Relief Advocates Say:

As the Relief Report goes to press, the Senate continues to debate the Comprehensive Regulatory Reform Act, S. 343, with a final vote unlikely before July 18. On July 12, Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole (R-KS) filed a motion for cloture to avert a possible filibuster. Regulatory relief advocates are urging grassroots activists to place calls to Senate offices early and often over the next several days in support of cloture. The regulatory relief coalition group Alliance for Reasonable Regulations has established a toll-free line so that these calls can be made free-of-charge. Opponents of regulatory reform -- never ones to respect private property rights -- have been telling their activists to use this toll-free line as well, so it's important, supporters say, that as many regulatory reform supporters as possible use the line. Regulatory relief groups are also urging activists to call on Senators to: 1) Vote against the Glenn alternative to S. 343, should it be offered; and 2) vote against any additional amendments that weaken the bill. The regulatory relief group Project Relief has suggested that special attention be paid to the following Senators: Bumpers and Pryor (AR), Feinstein (CA), Graham (FL), Nunn (GA), Simon (IL), Ford (KY), Cohen and Snowe (ME), Mikulski (MD), Baucus (MT), Exon and Kerrey (NE), Conrad and Dorgan (ND), Hollings (SC), Robb (VA), Rockefeller (WV) and Kohl (WI).

Victims' Corner - Stories of personal tragedy or government folly

Endangered Species Act Places Animals Above Children:

Mark Silbernagel, a third-generation timber worker and father of five children, lost his job in late 1991. The principal culprit: The Northern Spotted Owl, which with its "threatened" listing under the Endangered Species Act, brought Oregon's timber industry to its knees. Under ordinary circumstances, the loss of a family's primary source of income would be difficult, but the Sibernagels' circumstances were anything but ordinary. One of their children, four-year-old Benjamin, was born with streptococcus, meningitis and pneumonia, leaving him with a low white blood cell count, severe asthma and other lung problems. Because of mounting medical bills, Mark had to take whatever odds jobs he could get -- frequently many miles away from home. During a typical week, Mark would leave home early Monday morning and not return until late Friday night. "The husbands are going off to work... where the work is, be it travelling out of state to work or... like my husband, [working in construction away from home," lamented Mark's wife, Toni. "Mom is... holding down the fort and so what's happening is a lot of two parent households [are becoming] single parent households... Its really tough on the kids." Meanwhile, Toni had to take a full-time job with the local school district. The job provides her family with the much-needed medical insurance they can no longer afford to purchase themselves, but the strain of working 40 hours a week and caring for a child with special medical needs takes its toll. To those who think the Endangered Species Act need not be changed, Toni suggests this: "Think about what it feels like to have your life in limbo and to not know your future, what kind of future you're going to have for your children. It's a real scary feeling to think that people would ever think an animal is more important than your children."

Bulletin Board - News from regulatory relief groups

Heritage Foundation Labels Dole Bill a "Regulatory Reform Setback:"

The Comprehensive Regulatory Reform Act of 1995 (S.343) has been so compromised that it "could actually be a setback for regulatory reform," according to Angela Antonelli, deputy director for domestic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation. Significant changes were made to the legislation to gain the support of Senator J. Bennett Johnston (D-LA) and other moderate Democrats. "The intent of most of the bill's sponsors is real reform, but the bill itself is now so flawed that in many areas it would insulate federal agencies from proper accountability even more than they are now," said Antonelli. "[Agencies will be permitted to continue issuing] regulations imposing billions of dollars in cost to prevent a mere hypothetical handful of cancer cases... simply by asserting vague health or safety threats likely to result in 'significant harm.'" For more information, media may contact Angela Antonelli at (202)546-4400.

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