Federal Triangle / Commentary/Columns

Treaties, Rules and Regulations

July 9, 2012
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This column discusses items that could (signs on the horizon) impact your business. It describes actions of federal agendas that spell “pay attention.”

I’ve been watching government for more than 50 years and report here that an enormous load of what readers of this journal do not want may soon descend upon you. Let me be specific and talk about treaties, rules and regulations that affect your business – not the usual media chatter about legislation. The media often mentions pending laws but fails to cover the mundane in depth because that does not sell advertising and is often made boring (on purpose, I contend). But on the day this was written (June 4, 2012), we can only see a snapshot of reality … and some things that are truly appalling.

Government enacts laws that affect business, such as the healthcare law currently under review by the Supreme Court. But other federal actions – such as rules, regulations and treaties – can have effect of law but without scrutiny or realistic means for redress. What follows are items that must be on your watch list in the near term.

Let’s take the United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), written Dec. 10, 1982, and refused by President Reagan for acceptance or forwarding to the Senate for confirmation. A treaty can be signed by the President, agreed to by two-thirds of the Senate and have force of law in the U.S. without recourse. The Obama White House has championed this old treaty, and Senate hearings were held May 23 sponsored by Senator Kerry (D-MA). Proponents of the treaty say that it “brings order to the world’s oceans and defines the rights and responsibilities of nations.” That is a bald-faced lie.

What LOST does is regulate 70% of the Earth’s surface by placing it under a bureaucracy known as the International Seabed Authority, which is located in Jamaica. Don’t take my word for it, go read it. LOST Article 82 requires the U.S. to forfeit royalties generated by oil and gas production on the continental shelf, with those funds distributed by ISA to “developing states and peoples who have not attained full independence” – states like Cuba, Palestine, Sudan and Zimbabwe. Further, LOST cedes sovereignty to the ISA over the U.S. Navy, allows global taxation and makes disputes resolution mandatory on all international business contracts, which includes forcing U.S. business to release strategic technologies to Third World and corrupt nations when directed by the ISA. This is one of 34 treaties pending before the Senate. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, doesn’t it?

Under the heading of rules you can see is the “Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver,” which really is fast-track amnesty for illegal aliens. The period for offering comments closed within days of this writing and is certainly resolved as you read this. A “rule” is a unilateral issuance of a policy that has the effect of law without the due process part of the definition and is issued by the Executive or an agency of the executive branch of government. Most political observers understand that this rule exists only to curry favor with a voting bloc that cannot otherwise legally participate in the November elections.

The current explosion of regulations, especially from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has severe economic effects that ripple through the private sector.  The easiest way to review status is by accessing the electronic Code of Federal Regulations (current to within two business days), which is available at www.gpoaccess.gov and maintained by National Archives, Office of the Federal Register and Government Printing Office. At www.regulations.gov, we could see on June 4 that in the previous 90 days, 6,241 new regulations were posted.

A sample of topics covered by pending regulations includes: air-pollution control (2,767), business and industry (95), business information (332), electric utilities (153), energy conservation (187), fuel additives (58), greenhouse gases (64), hazardous substances (662), income taxes (627), lead (333), nitrogen dioxide (999), ozone (1,376), particulate matter (988), reporting requirements (181), sulfur oxides (529) and water-pollution control (402).

Regulations are distributed by category (summarized by percentage) as: agriculture-environment (20), banking (3.1), commerce (20.2), defense/security (21.6), energy (4.7), food/health (4.2), labor (3.1), technology (4.3) and transportation (18.2).

The LOST treaty has immediate economic effects and potential impacts on every business in the nation. The amnesty rule sponsored by the White House distorts the Constitutional electoral process. The various regulations mentioned pose economic burdens on the private sector and are a harbinger of and out-of-control federal government.

I contend that two signature accomplishments of the current Administration are: 1.) to make Congress irrelevant due to their incompetence at stopping items described herein; 2.) to use administrative instead of legislative processes to coerce change upon U.S. society. It is in the self and national interest of every reader to not let this travesty continue. IH

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