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Postal Service Must Submit to Regulations

(CN) - The U.S. Postal Service has to submit to regulations on certain non-delivery related services like stamp collecting and property leasing, the D.C. Circuit ruled.

The Postal Regulatory Commission issued an order stating that certain postal service activities historically acceptable are now subject to the commission's review for possible termination.

The commission zeroed in on the service's stamp collecting and property leasing activities most likely in an effort to cut corners in an increasingly severe budget crisis.

The postal service has been allowed to "engage in a number of ventures unrelated or only tangentially related to the delivery of mail" since the 1970s. By the late 1990s, its non-postal activities, including computer-based mail, international fax services, photocopying, stamp-collecting services, antenna leasing and souvenir sales were substantial, the ruling says.

But for the most part, the activities were not profitable.

When the service was faced with the commission's demand for details related to its non-delivery services in December 2007, the service refused, arguing that the commission did not have the authority to interfere.

After the commission ordered the service to comply, it found that the stamp and property activities could continue but that they must be regulated by the commission.

The appeals court reviewed the issue as a matter of interpretation of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. It concluded that the commission's interpretation was the more reasonable.

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