America Outdoors E-Bulletin
April 26, 2006
||Tapping into the Small Business Administration Resources for Advocacy
and Regulatory Relief
to most small businesses are two arms of the Small Business Administration
established with legislative authority to assist small businesses with
regulatory relief. The Office of Advocacy deals with rules, regulations and
plans that are being proposed by federal agencies that impact small business.
Their authority to modify the impact of these rules is granted under the
Regulatory Flexibility Act. Ten Regional offices are located throughout the
The Ombudsman's Office assists with heavy-handed regulation, such as audits
and penalties for violation of agency regulations, which may include BLM,
Forest Service or National Park Service outfitter and guide
of Advocacy weighs in at the national level on rules as they are developed.
Their office has developed model regulatory flexibility legislation for
adoption by various states. Since the release of Advocacy's model legislation
report, many states have taken steps to strengthen regulatory flexibility for
small business. As of December 2005, 33 state legislatures have considered
regulatory flexibility legislation, 15 regulatory flexibility bills have been
signed into law, and four Executive Orders implementing regulatory flexibility
have been signed by Governors.
Ombudsman's office helps small business with the implementation of regulations,
including excessive penalties. The Ombudsman's office assists small businesses
with unfair and excessive federal regulatory enforcement, such as repetitive
audits or investigations, excessive fines, penalties, retaliation or other
unfair regulatory enforcement action by a federal agency. The National
Ombudsman receives complaints and comments from small business concerns and
acts as a "trouble shooter" between them and federal agencies. Small business
comments are forwarded to federal agencies for a high level review and federal
agencies are requested to consider the fairness of their action.
examples of the Ombudsman's office work include reduction or elimination of
excessive penalties and unrealistic fees being charged by federal agencies.
- The IRS refunded
$1,200 IRS to Mid-America Hearing Center in Mt. Vernon, Missouri after
reconsidering their fine because the small business had changed from accrual to
- The IRS reviewed and
gave an abatement of penalties against Suburban Water Testing Labs in Temple,
Pennsylvania. In addition, the IRS corrected a systemic problem involving
incorrect notices being sent to the taxpayer.
- The Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission reopened conciliation discussions with Caltag in
- The IRS reviewed and
waived a penalty for Print Wizard in Dearborn Heights, Michigan.
To file a
complaint go to
- Complete, date, and
submit the Federal Agency Comment Form.
- If your comment is
about the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you must also complete IRS Tax
Information Authorization Form 8821.
- Provide documentation
to substantiate your comment, such as correspondence, enforcement letters,
citations, phone logs, or other proof of the federal agency's
- Substantiation may be
faxed to (202) 481-5719, e-mailed to Ombudsman@sba.gov or mailed to
Office of the National Ombudsman, U. S. Small Business Administration, 409 3rd
Street, SW , Washington , DC 20416
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|| Unit Management Plan for the Hudson Gorge May
Challenge Water Releases and Use Levels
The New York Department
of Environment and Conservation (DEC) is developing a unit management plan for
the Hudson Gorge Primitive Area, which also must comply with guidelines for the
Adirondack Park master plan. All of the "Potentially Significant Adverse
Impacts" except one are related to whitewater rafting and kayaking and the
water releases from Lake Abanakee provided by the town of Indian Lake. Indian
Lake is a small community near the Gorge that receives economic benefits from
the 19,000 boaters who run the Gorge annually. DEC appears to be favoring a
run-of-river type operation of the dam. The Gorge is largely inaccessible
except by raft and kayak and the fishery is not natural, but established
through stocking of non-native rainbows and brown trout. A run-of-river dam
operation would virtually eliminate reliable commercial rafting on the
The DEC in cooperation
with the US Geological Survey is conducting a study this year on the impacts of
water releases. The study does not include any study of the impacts of the
introduction of non-native species on the native fish population.
The Association for the
Protection of the Adirondacks and Trout Unlimited are pushing for changes to
the operation of the dam. The Association website promotes wilderness
management for the Gorge and also lists as concerns the number of users on the
river and the presence of outfitters. An excerpt from the Association website
includes the following:
"The Department of
Environmental Conservation's Environmental Conservation Law provides further
perspective on the situation. Chapter II, part 190.8 states 'the use of
State forest preserve land or any improvements thereon for private revenue or
commercial purposes is prohibited.' (see
"The guidelines for
Management and Use for Primitive Areas in the State Land Master Plan, states,
'The primary primitive management guideline will be to achieve and maintain in
each designated primitive area a condition as close to wilderness as possible,
so as to perpetuate a natural plant and animal community where man's influence
is relatively unapparent.''' (27)
||Drug Testing of Prospective Employees By
The ADA makes it illegal for any
to test a prospective employee without first making a conditional offer of
employment. The ADA also says you can´t discriminate against prospective
employees on the basis of past drug-related problems. Then again, you may
refuse to hire people if you have reason to believe they will return to
substance abuse or endanger the safety and health of your workers. If you
aren´t sure how to proceed with an applicant who has a history of drug
abuse, consult an attorney. The ADA doesn´t prohibit asking a person with
a history of substance abuse to enroll in a rehabilitation program before
joining your firm.
itself. If a job has the potential to place the employee, coworkers or the
public in danger, there may be stronger legal justification to test for drugs.
Evidence of a drug problem. Some states require you to show probable
cause to suspect employees are impaired before testing them for drugs.
Whether the worker is already on staff. Once applicants are hired, your
rights to test them for drug use may diminish. Some states require visible
evidence of substance abuse such as an accident, a visible decline in work
quality or the discovery of illicit drugs in the workplace before you have the
legal right to test a current employee. Testing current employees at random or
without prior notice is also illegal in many states.
resources to help small and growing businesses start, manage, finance and
expand their business. The site contains Forms & Agreements, Business
Guides, Business Directories, thousands of Articles, Expert Advice, and
Business Blogs. Material copyrighted by AllBusiness.com.
||Dam Removal Proposed for Upper Klamath River
Klamath Basin tribes and
other groups are seeking removal of the dams on the Upper Klamath River Basin.
Outfitters are caught in the middle because project operations provide flows
for whitewater rafting on the Upper Klamath and dam removal would wipe out the
opportunity because most of the natural flow river water is used for
irrigation. Two federal agencies have supported the addition of $200 million
fish ladders and turbine screens that would be so costly they might make the
projects marginally profitable. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA
Fisheries recommended that fish ladders and turbine screens be installed at
four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River below the Oregon-California line.
They want the additions to be required as part of PacifiCorp's re-licensing by
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is pending. But the agencies
have no binding authority and only FERC can require the additions.
||Forest Service Not Following Law
for Many User Fee
In response to questions
raised by Senator Larry Craig at a Congressional hearing last fall, Under
Secretary of Mark Rey conceded in a recent follow-up letter that the Forest
Service was not in compliance with the law (Federal Lands Recreation
Enhancement Act) at most fee sites. The law requires that sites have a minimum
of six amenities to qualify for collection of a Standard Amenity Fee. Of 1,339
sites that are located within agency-designated "High Impact Recreation Areas,"
981 are Standard Amenity Fee sites. Forest Service documents revealed that 739
Standard Amenity Fee sites, or 75% of the total, do not have all of the
amenities the law requires. It is uncertain whether the agency will cease
collection of fees at these sites or try to bring them up to the standards to
qualify for collection. On another matter, the Forest Service is planning to
close many backcountry campgrounds due to lack of funds or lack of use. Some
have pump wells that do not meet EPA standards for filtration systems.
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