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The Bend Bulletin

It should not be too much to ask that the federal government’s rules be roughly reasonable and approximately right. But the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has shown a lack of sense.

The bureau declared in a March 11 ruling that filling growlers with wine and taking the growler off the premises “may be conducted lawfully only by a qualified taxpaid wine bottling house.”

What that bureaucratese means is that Oregon’s new wine growler law is in trouble. Beer growlers are OK. Wine growlers are somehow very bad in the bureau’s eyes and must be subject to many layers of new regulation and fees.

Oregon’s congressional delegation didn’t just accept this nonsense in stupid good faith. All the members of the delegation — senators and representatives — joined together to fire off a letter to tell the bureau to reconsider.

Is the additional regulatory burden really worth it? Does the federal government really want to stifle these sales? Are beer growlers causing some sort of vast untold problem jeopardizing the public safety or failing to pay proper taxes?

We’d guess the answers are: no, no and no.

The bureau presents no such evidence to the contrary in its ruling. The bureau appears just to be doing its bureaucratic duty and faithfully attempting to apply its rules for wine to Oregon’s wine growlers.

The bureau should stop enforcing this ruling unless it can prove it is necessary. The rules should be reasonable, or they must change.