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, E-mail Web

Issue #66 * June 26, 1998 * David A. Ridenour, Editor


Alaska Republicans Team Up With Greenpeace to Promote Regulatory Taking

Alaska's congressional delegation has formed an unholy alliance with Greenpeace to support a bill that would sanction a regulatory taking. The bill, the American Fisheries Act (S. 1221), would raise the American ownership requirement for all fishing vessels operating in the North Pacific from 51% to 75%. This requirement would effectively ban most "factory fishing trawlers" -- larger vessels used to both catch and process fish -- including 50% of the Seattle-based American Seafoods Company's fleet. Former U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh has stated that he believes such an effort to regulate these trawlers out of existence would constitute a taking of property rights. The bill would also throw 1,500 Americans in the state of Washington out of work.

Greenpeace and members of the Alaska congressional delegation argue that the bill is needed because factory trawlers contribute to overfishing in the North Pacific. At a June 4 hearing on Capitol Hill, for example, House Resources Committee Chairman Don Young (R-AK) defended the bill arguing that the environmental benefits of the bill outweigh any economic costs. "Are we worried about jobs or are we worried about species?" asked Young.

But according to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), S. 1221 would not provide the kind of environmental benefits its advocate claim and could place the environment at greater risk. The NMFS noted: "Information is not available to suggest that S. 1221 will result in significant positive conservation impacts... However... the progressive redistribution of fishing effort associated with the phaseout of large, offshore, mid-water trawl vessels, to predominantly smaller inshore vessels that may rely more on bottom trawl gear, could make observer coverage more difficult and would increase concern with bycatch (unintentional capture of nonmarketable ocean species)." For more information, contact John Carlisle at (202) 507-6398 or


New Report Shows Link Between Wealthy Philanthropies and Crippled Rural Economies

Wealthy philanthropies, grant-driven environmental groups and government employees are working together in a systematic and deliberate effort to destroy rural American resource-dependent communities, according to a new study by the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise. The study, "Battered Communities," examines four of the nation's most besieged rural economies: Washington state, Minnesota, Arizona's Forested Mountains and New England's Northern Forest. The study not only examines the causes of economic troubles in each of the four economies, but who is most to blame for these problems. Among the report's findings: The Columbia Basin towns of Omak, Tonasket and Republic were devastated by environmentalist lawsuits that choked off timber supplies and caused mills to close. Dozens of environmental groups were to blame. One of these groups was the Inland Empire Public Lands Council, which received grants from such wealthy foundations as the W. Alton Jones Foundation (VA), the Turner Foundation (GA), the Compton Foundation (CA) and the Bullitt Foundation (WA) -- most located out-of-state. "Battered Communities" notes that, as a result of such environmental campaigns, there is a growing urban-rural prosperity gap (the degree to which rural communities are falling behind urban ones economically). While the national unemployment rate is just 5%, rural counties commonly suffer jobless rates of more than 10%. For a copy of the report or more information, contact Ron Arnold at 425/455-5038.

Victim's Corner: Dammed if You Do, Dammed if You Don't

Erie County, Pennsylvania farmer Robert Brace was fined $10,000 and lost the use of 30 acres of his farm for dismantling a beaver dam. Backed up water from the beaver dam had turned part of Brace's farm into a marshy area, but when Brace took steps to remove the dam, government officials accused him of damaging a federally-protected wetland and fined him.

Brace's story may remind some readers of a beaver story included in the March 20 edition Relief Report, but with a twist: In that story, Michigan landowner Stephen Tvedten received a letter from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality informing him that he was in violation of the state's Environmental Protection Act. Tvedten's "crime"? Two beaver dams had been constructed on his land -- and he hadn't removed them.

What these two stories tell us is that you're dammed if you do, dammed if you don't. Brace and Tvedten are just two of over 100 victims included in The National Center's new National Directory of Environmental and Regulatory Victims.


New Releases from The National Center for Public Policy Research

Special Report

* National Directory of Environmental and Regulatory Victims. A sixty-four page publication detailing the stories of over 100 people whose lives have been shattered by excessive regulations. The publication includes an introduction by three-time Indy 500 winner Bobby Unser, himself a recent victim of overzealous regulators. Copies are available for $15 each. Large quantities are available at a substantial discount.

For copies, contact The National Center for Public Policy Research @ (202) 507-6398 or visit our website at

All editorial correspondence to The Relief Report should be directed to: The National Center for Public Policy Research * 20 F Street NW, Suite 700 * Washington, D.C. 20001 * Tel (202) 507-6398 * Fax (301) 498-1301 * E-mail * Web Copyright 1998, 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. To receive all National Center newsletters free by e-mail, visit or send a message to


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