CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

It was a busy week for the Federal Register, which included a 629-page proposed regulation from the EPA for greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy for cars and trucks, as well as final regulations covering everything from finishing wood to inspecting tunnels.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 78 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 56 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and nine minutes.
  • So far in 2015, 1,736 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,168 new regulations this year, which would be several hundred fewer rules than the usual total of 3,500-plus.
  • Last week, 2,764 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,647 pages the previous week.
  • Currently at 42,669 pages, the 2015 Federal Register is on pace for 77,864 pages.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. Sixteen such rules have been published so far this year, one in the past week.
  • The total estimated compliance cost of 2015’s economically significant regulations ranges from $1.32 billion to $1.41 billion for the current year.
  • 145 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published so far this year.
  • So far in 2015, 298 new rules affect small businesses; 46 of them are classified as significant. 

Highlights from selected final rules published last week:

  • There is some controversy over whether or not a new Affordable Care Act regulation is economically significant. The Office of Management and Budget argues that the rule meets the broader definition of “significant.” That much we’re sure about. But even though OMB expects the rule to have annual impacts greater than $100 million, it does not call it “economically significant.” The Treasury Department, meanwhile, conducted its own analysis and argued that the rule does not even qualify as “significant,” and that “a regulatory assessment is not required.” Whatever the rule’s actual significance and cost, the Treasury Department’s lack of commitment to transparency is troubling. For out tally’s purposes, I am not counting this rule as economically significant, so its costs do not factor into our running cost tally.
  • An economically significant EPA regulation for underground storage tanks will cost an estimated $160 million per year.
  • A new HUD regulation hopes to reduce neighborhood segregation.
  • If you want to use heavy elements to finish wood, read this regulation first.
  • Energy efficiency standards for commercial-grade HVAC systems and water heaters.
  • Tunnel inspection standards.

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.