CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

Just another week in the world of regulation:

  • 95 new final rules were published last week, up from 84 the previous week. That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every hour and 46 minutes — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All in all, 1,583 final rules have been published in the Federal Register this year. If this keeps up, the total tally for 2012 will be 3,968 new rules.
  • 1,628 new pages were added to the 2012 Federal Register last week, for a total of 31,432 pages. At this pace, the 2012 Federal Register will run 77,040 pages.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. The 22 such rules published so far in 2012 have compliance costs of at least $14.3 billion. Two of the rules do not have cost estimates, and a third cost estimate does not give a total annual cost. We assume that rules lacking this basic transparency measure cost the bare minimum of $100 million per year. The true cost is almost certainly higher.
  • No economically significant rules were published last week. So far, 172 significant final rules have been published in 2012.
  • So far this year, 292 final rules affect small businesses. 40 of them are significant rules.

Highlights from final rules published last week:

  • Good news on the international trade front: the International Trade Administration published a rule withdrawing a tariff quota on imported fabric that expired in 2009 (timely!). The rule also repeals rules for short supply procedures. “Short supply procedures” means that when domestic supply falls short of demand, the government blocks fewer imports than usual to ease the shortage. Now the ITA will stay out of the way entirely, as far as cotton is concerned. This bit of housecleaning came about through President Obama’s January 2011 Executive Order, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review.”
  • The official legal meaning of the term “unblockable drain” has been revised, thanks to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • It is against federal rules for a commercial driver to make entries to an automatic on-board recording device while his vehicle is in motion. A new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rule specifies that it’s OK for anyone else in the vehicle to do so.
  • Morelet’s crocodile is no longer an endangered species, though the crocs “will remain protected under the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.”

For more data, updated daily, go to TenThousandCommandments.com.