CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

It was a short work week for the federal government due to the Columbus Day holiday. But agencies still found the time to publish new regulations ranging from livestock herding to washing machines.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 63 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 68 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 40 minutes.
  • So far in 2015, 2,674 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,343 new regulations this year, far fewer than the usual total of 3,500-plus.
  • Last week, 1,796 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,245 pages the previous week.
  • Currently at 62,981 pages, the 2015 Federal Register is on pace for 78,043 pages.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. 22 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 $1.73 billion to $1.88 billion for the current year.
  • 223 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published so far this year.
  • So far in 2015, 435 new rules affect small businesses; 61 of them are classified as significant. 

Highlights from selected final rules published last week:

  • The Health and Human Services Department issued a new 159-page economically significant rule for medical records (would it be cheaper for them to just ask the NSA for their medical record information?). I am scoring this rule at its estimated cost during 2015 of between $39.07 million and 64.08 million. Its annual costs are estimated to exceed $100 million in each of the next two years, hence its economically significant classification. I am not including future years’ costs in our running compliance cost tally.
  • Corrections to the Energy Department’s recent washing machine energy-efficiency testing rules.
  • Automatic emergency brakes for trucks may eventually become mandatory—this is potentially one step on the way to self-driving trucks, though if regulators lock into one technological standard, they may prevent future improvements, and therefore harm long-run safety. Tread carefully, NHTSA!
  • An effort to make foreign-born livestock herders feel more at home on the range?
  • New FDA labeling requirements for infant formula will become effective on June 22, 2016.
  • Design standards for highways.

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