via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.
TOPICS: New fuels plan; Dairy export bonus
(DEIP); Immigration reform; Antitrust and railroads
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New fuels standards/auto emissions plan does not need congressional
okay. The major regulatory initiative unveiled Tuesday
by President Obama sets national limits on climate-altering emissions
from cars and trucks, and accelerates, increases and alters miles per
gallon mandates for autos and trucks. The deal does not require congressional
approval. To complete it, the Obama administration will need to finalize
several pending decisions, at which point automakers will drop their lawsuits
against California's proposed emissions limits. The administration will
eventually release proposed rulemaking language that will be open for
Perspective: Obama's use of executive power in announcing
a sweeping plan to curb auto emissions is another clear signal that
if Congress fails to give him a cap-and-trade bill, he will take the
executive route, even though he wants a congressional bill sent to him.
-- Implications of reactivating Dairy Export
Incentives Program (DEIP). Some US dairy groups are urging
USDA to reactivate the DEIP, an export subsidy program to help the US
compete with exporters who subsidize their products. USDA is mulling the
request and is consulting with other agencies, including the US Trade
Representative's Office. DEIP has not been active since 2004. A Congressional
Research Service report said exports via DEIP would increase demand for
dairy products, at least to the extent subsidized exports do not substitute
for commercial exports. But the report concluded that DEIP-assisted exports
would have a relatively small effect on US milk prices and income for
US dairy farmers.
Look for some dairy groups to quarrel with that assessment.
-- Napolitano to continue push for immigration
reform. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary
Janet Napolitano said she would continue to press Congress to pass comprehensive
immigration reform legislation, including expanded efforts to check on
the status of immigrants held in local jails. “The immigration issue
is so large you have to create priorities,” Napolitano said during
a Christian Science Monitor breakfast. She added the DHS is reviewing
an existing effort, known as Secure Communities, that tracks the status
of immigrant prisoners. Napolitano said her department’s $55.1 billion
fiscal 2010 budget request would direct $112 million to strengthen employment
eligibility verification systems and allow for hiring 80 new immigration
personnel to work on border security.
She also said she would travel to Canada next week for a meeting
with leaders on northern border issues.
-- House panel conducts hearing on measure
to extend antitrust law to railroads: A House subcommittee
on Tuesday heard from witnesses on a bill to apply federal antitrust law
to the operation of rail common carriers. The measure would amend the
Clayton Act to repeal existing antitrust exemptions and to extend the
applicability of federal antitrust law to all common carriers subject
to the jurisdiction of the Surface Transportation Board (STB). It would
subject to antitrust review all agreements among rail carriers to pool
or divide traffic, services, or earnings. All mergers and acquisitions
involving railroads would be subject to Clayton Act § 7 review by
the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission. The measure also
would authorize private enforcement of antitrust law for injunctive relief
against a rail carrier. In any civil case against a rail common carrier,
the district court would not be required to defer to the primary jurisdiction
of the STB.
Reaction: J. Michael Hemmer, General Counsel of Union
Pacific Railroad Co., cautioned the subcommittee that the proposal goes
beyond mere repeal of the statutory exemption provided for the railroad
industry. Hemmer, representing the Association of American Railroads,
suggested that, if the subcommittee wants to address rail transportation
policies, it should work with other congressional committees to craft
a coherent, national rail policy that integrates regulation with antitrust
jurisprudence. Dr. Mark Cooper, of the Consumer Federation of America,
lamented excessive rail rates imposed on shippers because of the “pervasive
abuse of market power.”
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retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.