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The Federal Government Wants to Re-regulate the Railroads

The United States has the most developed and efficient freight railroad system in the world. In contrast to Europe, where the large majority of freight is moved by road, by weight and distance travelled freight rail provides the largest share of the transportation mix in the US. This is no accident. In 1980, recognizing the sclerotic and weak state of the heavily-regulated rail industry, a deliberate decision was made to deregulate freight rail. The subsequent recovery of the freight rail industry might seem to be a lesson in the value of reducing federal interference to the average person, but not to a regulator. Perhaps offended by their example, regulators in Washington have been hunting for ways to re-impose regulatory control over American freight rail.

07/27/2016
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Don’t ALLOW Occupational Licensing

Last Tuesday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah.) and Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) spoke at a Heritage Foundation panel discussion on the damage and ineffectiveness of occupational licensing.

07/21/2016
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Regulators Vow Revenge Against States for Opposing Federal Land Grab

On Tuesday, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) formally announced the removal of the lesser prairie chicken from the endangered species protection list. They did not take this step voluntarily; FWS lost a court case last year which ordered the agency to remove the bird from the list. However, even as they complied with the court’s order, the FWS issued a threat that the agency’s land grab under the guise of conservation was not over. In the words of Director Dan Ashe, “Responding to this court ruling by removing the bird from the Federal List does not mean we are walking away from efforts to conserve the lesser prairie-chicken. Far from it." The Empire has vowed to strike back.

07/20/2016
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Obama Administration Continues Regulatory Assault on Offshore Oil and Gas

Last week the Obama administration released yet another regulation intended to undermine the viability of the offshore oil and gas industry in the United States. On July 7, the Department of Interior announced its new rules for drilling offshore in Alaska. For the first time ever, the administration decided to create special rules for Alaska, more onerous than the rules that apply to offshore production in the rest of the country. No accidents or incidents have occurred to warrant these new aggressive rules, but then for a regulator when it comes to regulation, there never seems to be a need to ask why.

07/18/2016
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Regulatory Agencies Exploit Unintended Consequences of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Regulatory agencies have entered the space of copyright law and have tipped the balance of the intellectual property system. Now, it is somehow unclear that agency regulations designed to protect health, safety, and the environment have absolutely nothing to do with copyright law. As with many threats to the balance of intellectual property, Section 1201 is responsible for tipping the scale.

07/14/2016
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Where the Wild Things Aren’t: The Federal Government Claims Land Is “Critical Habitat” for a Species That Does Not Live There

In 2012, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) designated 6,477 acres of private land in Mississippi and Louisiana as “critical habitat” for the dusky gopher frog, an endangered species. A critical habitat designation imposes a whole host of permitting restrictions on a selected property, significantly impairing the property rights of the owner. There was something that should seem odd about the decision, though: the frog only exists in Mississippi. The 1,544 acres in Louisiana included in the designation are not inhabited by the frog, and indeed the FWS’s own report describes the land as “poor quality terrestrial habitat for dusky gopher frogs.” But little things like facts and logic can’t be expected to halt the march of the regulators.

07/14/2016
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Congress Intensifies Battle Against Regulators As New Rules Grab Legislative Power

During a week in which regulators added $12.8 billion in costs, Congress intensified its battle against the regulatory state. This regulatory outburst comes as no surprise during Obama's final months in office. Earlier this month, regulators rushed to release a flood of regulations, hoping to enact new rules before the newly elected administration takes over.

05/31/2016
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CFPB Anti-Arbitration Rule Gives Millions to Class Action Lawyers, Leaves Consumers in the Dust

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) hit a new low this month when they proposed a new rule that directly harms those that the CFPB was created to protect: the consumers. The proposed regulation would place severe restrictions on the use of arbitration in settling disputes, forcing consumer suits out of arbitration and into class action litigation. The studies and arguments the CFPB attempted to use in the proposal indicate that the CFPB is aware that it is harming consumers while padding the pockets of class action attorneys.

05/18/2016
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Bill's Not Just a Bill. And He's Not Just Sitting Here on Capitol Hill.

As the "drop dead date" for Obama administration regulations draws near, we are expecting a flood of "midnight regulations." Regulatory agencies, in an eleventh-hour attempt to pass new rules before the start of the next administration, will make a huge push in ushering in new proposals. In preparation for this regulatory outburst, we have provided a brief guide explaining how proposed rules become regulations.

05/16/2016
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With Seven-Day Extension, Obama Midnight is Dark and Full of Regulatory Terrors

The "drop dead date" for federal regulations is fast approaching and we are expecting more overreaching proposals. This is the last date that proposed rules can be finalized by the Obama administration, without fear that the next President will overturn them under the Congressional Review Act. Regulatory agencies are expected to release a flood of regulations before this date. This regulatory outburst, first noted in the final days of the Carter Administration, is known as "midnight regulations."

05/16/2016

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