WASHINGTON - A new lobbying coalition of business leaders is being formed in Washington, and Larry Thomas, president of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., is expected to play a significant role. Opinions vary on the purpose of the coalition, dubbed the Alliance for Reasonable Regulation.
According to a coalition spokesman, the group ``has been established as the industry focal point to ensure that the greatest health, safety and environmental benefits are achieved through government regulation.''
Richard Hind, legislative director of the Greenpeace Toxic Alert program and a frequent commentator on government regulation of dioxin, called the new body's purpose ``predictable and transparent.''
``Their purpose is to avoid regulation they don't like at all costs,'' Hind said.
Thomas is expected to play a large role in the group's risk assessment activities, which will include determining the societal burden of a government regulation before implementing it. He sits on the coalition's executive committee, along with representatives from the National Association of Manufacturers, Chemical Manufacturers Association, Edison Electric Institute and the American Petroleum Institute.
John Cohen, director of risk policy for the National Association of Manufacturers, also will serve as ARR executive director. The executive committee's chairman is Jerry Jasinowski, president of NAM.
The lobbying coalition will address the Job Creation and Wage Enhancement Act of 1995, spon-sored by Rep. Bill Archer, R-Texas, which already has 100 co-sponsors. ARR is interested specifically in Title 3, dealing with risk assessment.
Title 3 requires legislation pending before Congress to be subjected to peer review and cost-benefit analyses in advance of passage.
The House Science Committee, chaired by Rep. Rob Walker, R-Pa.-a close friend of House Speaker Newt Gingrich-is expected to schedule hearings on the bill in a couple of weeks.
Two other House committees, Government Reform and Oversight, and Commerce, also are expected to review Title 3.
SPI members already have received a letter asking for their support of the new alliance. The group claims 850 supporters in manufacturing, trade and professional associations and other business ventures, Cohen said. ``In the 103rd Congress, the business community was somewhat divergent in its approach to regulatory reform. ... There was a sense in the last Congress that we were moving in different directions. Our purpose is to have the business community speak with one voice,'' he said.
The disclosure of ARR followed the Jan. 17 announcement that a Senate Republican Regulatory Relief Task Force had been formed. Sens. Christopher S. Bond, R-Mo., and Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas, will co-chair the task force.
``In addition to scrubbing existing regulations, the task force is charged with developing legislation to deal with excessive regulations and devising a means to maintain control over future regulations,'' a flier announcing the task force's formation said.