The Relief Report®

A newsletter covering regulatory reform efforts in Washington and across America, published by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 300 Eye St, NE #3, Washington, D C 20002, (202) 543-4110, Fax (202)543-5975, E-Mail [email protected], Web http://www.nationalcenter.org.

Issue #48 * November 13, 1996 * David A. Ridenour, Editor

Election '96 -- Analysis of the 1996 Vote

Environmentalists and the 1996 Vote:
The Mouse That Squeaked

The environmental movement set out to be the mouse that roared in the 1996 elections, but all Americans heard was a squeak. Environmental groups spent millions of dollars on congressional elections in hopes of making 1996 the year of the environmental backlash. Two of the largest environmental PACs, the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters, spent close to $9 million trying to convince the American people that the 104th Congress was the most anti-environmental Congress on record. But the hoped-for backlash never materialized and Republicans retained control of both houses of Congress and even expanded their numbers in the Senate. Although the Democrats made modest gains in the House of Representatives its not clear that the greens will benefit from the changes. Among the GOP's casualties were a half dozen of its more green members. For example, New Jersey's Bill Martini, who received an 81 in the League of Conservation Voters' National Environmental Scorecard was defeated by William Pascrell who is not particularly liked by the environmental establishment. The loss of these half dozen members could have an impact on the 105 Congress' environmental agenda far more significant than merely denying the environmental establishment needed votes on the Hill. In the waning months of the 104th Congress, the Republican leadership felt compelled to compromise with a group of liberal Republicans led by Representative Sherwood Boehlert because it feared these members could bolt the party on key votes or bolt the party entirely. Now that the number of these liberals has diminished, the leadership has less reason to listen to Representative Boehlert when it comes to environmental policy. The situation for environmentalists in the Senate is even more bleak. Not only did the GOP pick up two seats in the Senate, but the Republican membership took a significant step to the right, with virtually every incoming Republican freshman more conservative than the Senator he or she replaced -- Democrat or Republican. If the environment played a role in the congressional elections, it appears that its role was precisely the opposite of what the press and pundits predicted. Perhaps for the next elections they will not so blindly follow the environmental movement's line.

Bulletin Board -- News from
Regulatory Relief Groups

Environment Thrives on Greenhouse
Gases, Survey Finds

A 1994 field study conducted by Paul Knapp and Peter Soule and published in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers found that plant life becomes more abundant with higher concentrations of CO2 (a greenhouse gas). The survey was conducted in an isolated area in central Oregon and replicated a similar study conducted in 1960. Knapp and Soule found that over the 34 year period, the area experienced a large increase in woody species of trees, a small increase in perennial grasses, a doubling of Western juniper coverage, a 41% increase in tree density and a 115% increase in sagebrush density. After eliminating all other potential causes for the change in vegetation coverage, Knapp and Soule concluded that elevated levels of CO2 were responsible. For more detailed information, refer to the National Center for Policy Analysis' environmental page on the World Wide Web at http://www.public-policy.org/~ncpa/pi/enviro/envdex.html.

Environmental Experts and Regulatory
Victims Directories Released

The National Center for Public Policy Research's Environmental Policy Task Force has just released two directories, the National Directory of Regulatory Victims and the Directory of Environmental Scientists and Economists. The National Directory of Regulatory Victims details over 100 stories of personal tragedy resulting from excessive regulations. Some of the stories are about people who have fallen prey to ill-conceived or poorly written laws. Others describe the ordeals of people who have become victims of a complicated web of confusing and sometimes contradictory regulations. Others tell of the victims of all-or-nothing regulations that too often leave people with nothing. Still other stories are about victims of outright abuse by government officials. The Directory of Environmental Scientists and Economists provides names and biographies for over 140 environmental scientists, economists and policy experts in 27 different environmental fields. The directory was designed to ensure that journalists and policymakers have ready access to real environmental experts rather than political activists. Both directories may be obtained by contacting The National Center for Public Policy Research at (202) 543-4110. The price for each is $12

Victim's Corner -- Stories of Personal
Tragedy or Government Folly

OSHA to Business: "Do as I Say, Not as I Do."

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) appears to be willing to do anything -- even jeopardize safety -- in order to nail small businesses for safety violations. The Al Melanson Roofing Company found itself subject to three separate OSHA inspections in a single week, while working on a construction project with multiple contractors in Keene, New Hampshire. The government inspector, looking to enforce OSHA's Fall Prevention standards, found the company in compliance during the first two visits, but on the third visit cited the company for a violation. But there was a problem: The inspector used a home video camera to record the violation -- while driving down the road. Not only does Melanson question whether his employees were the workers on the roof, but he wonders "who is more unsafe in this situation -- the men who are on an easily walkable work surface or the OSHA official driving down the road videotaping out the side window of his car." OSHA used the tape as evidence to slap the roofing company with a $10,000 fine. Source: National Roofing Contractors Association.

All correspondence to The Relief Report should be directed to: The National Center for Public Policy Research * 300 Eye Street, NE Suite 3 * Washington, D C 20002 * Tel (202) 543-4110 * Fax (202) 543-5975 * E-mail [email protected] * Web http://www.nationalcenter.org. © 1996, 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. Reprints of material in the Relief Report permitted provided source is credited. ###



<<< Return to National Center Home Page

<<< Return to the Relief Report Index