• April 2, 2020

U.S. village unanimously votes to begin efforts to challenge ‘unconstitutional’ FDA regulations

The Village of Hartland, Wisconsin, USA, is getting ready to bring the vapor battle to the U.S. capital. Leaders of the small village of 9,200 residents voted this evening to take on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for not coordinating with local governments before the regulatory agency enacted it’s deeming regulations for vapor products. If the FDA admits it failed to coordinate with Hartland prior to enacting the deeming rule, those regulations would become unconstitutional.

The next step will be to forward the findings to FDA Commissioner Stephen Ostroff and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, and the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality. Hartland officials said they plan on presenting their evidence later this week.

The Village Board conducted a public hearing related to “coordination and lack of coordination” by the FDA and other agencies last week. Today’s vote in favor of the measure to challenge the FDA was unanimous.

Federal and state statutes require administrative agencies to “coordinate” with local governments in developing and implementing plans, policies and management actions. These statutes create a process allowing local governments to have an equal voice in negotiations, especially on issues related to a community’s economic stability, and social and cultural cohesiveness. Hartland’s leaders say this just didn’t happen.

Several industry experts spoke during last week’s hearings, including Stephen Moore, a senior fellow with the Heritage Foundation, a political think tank. He estimates the loss of Hartland-based e-liquid manufacturer Johnson Creek Enterprises and its 50 jobs alone would cost the local community nearly $1.5 million in economic input per year if the company were forced to close due to burdensome FDA rules. Johnson Creek is just one of several vapor-related companies in Wisconsin that say they’d have to shutter their doors if current FDA regulations remain.

Fred Kelly Grant, who served as Hartland’s hearing officer, is no stranger to coordination. He has used the coordination hearing process to successfully push back regulatory efforts by the departments of Interior, Agriculture and Homeland Security, as well as the Bureau of Land Management, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Forestry Service, among others.

Village of Hartland leaders hear testimony concerning FDA regulations during hearings last week. Credit: EVCA