Two new economically significant regulations last week will impose more than half a billion dollars in compliance costs on the economy. The additional 57 regulations agencies finalized last week will hopefully be less impactful.
On to the data:
- Last week, 59 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register. There were 79 new final rules the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every 2 hours and 51 minutes.
- So far in 2014, 868 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,100 new regulations this year. This would be the lowest total in decades; this will likely change as the year goes on.
- Last week, 1,766 new pages were added to the Federal Register.
- Currently at 20,727 pages, the 2014 Federal Register is on pace for 74,025 pages, which would be the lowest total since 2009.
- Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. 12 such rules have been published so far this year, two of them in the past week.
- The total estimated compliance costs of 2014’s economically significant regulations currently ranges from $1.64 billion to $2.01 billion. They also affect several billion dollars of government spending.
- Seventy-seven final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published so far this year.
- So far in 2014, 184 new rules affect small businesses; 26 of them are classified as significant.
Highlights from selected final rules published last week:
- A new regulation requiring all new cars to have rearview cameras installed by 2018 garnered national attention last week, not least because it will add $132 to $142 to the cost of low-end cars; consumers on the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum are not happy. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates compliance costs of $546 million to $620 million.
- The week’s other economically significant rule comes from OSHA, which issued new safety standards for electrical equipment. It will have compliance costs of $47.1 to $49.5 million. The rule meets the $100 million economically significant threshold because OSHA multiplied an arbitrary estimate of lives saved and an arbitrary dollar value for each of those lives, plus an estimated number of prevented injuries and an arbitrary dollar value for each injury. That pushes its estimated benefits to $179.2 million per year.
- The FDA approved the use of spirulina extract as food coloring. Spirulina extract is dried cyanobacteria, and is popular among health food enthusiasts.
- The lesser prairie-chicken is now a threatened species.
- The Mazama pocket gopher is neither a threatened nor endangered species, but three of its subspecies are the unwitting recipients of more than 1,600 acres of critical habitat in Washington State.
- In 2011, the federal government issued a Christmas Tree Promotion, Research, and Information Order. As part of the Order, and also to make Adam Smith roll over in his grave, Christmas trees will now be taxed in order to increase demand for them.