CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

The pace of new rules has picked up recently, with 80 or more final regulations and more than 2,000 Federal Register pages for the second straight week. New rules cover everything from bricks to housekeepers.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 83 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 80 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and one minute.
  • So far in 2015, 2,837 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,378 new regulations this year, far fewer than the usual total of 3,500-plus.
  • Last week, 2,137 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 2,048 pages the previous week.
  • Currently at 67,526 pages, the 2015 Federal Register is on pace for 80,067 pages.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. 28 such rules have been published so far this year, five in the past week, which is a high for the year.
  • The total estimated compliance cost of 2015’s economically significant regulations ranges from $3.15 billion to $4.40 billion for the current year.
  • 242 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published so far this year.
  • So far in 2015, 461 new rules affect small businesses; 65 of them are classified as significant. 

Highlights from selected final rules published last week:

  • New EPA rules for bricks and clay will have capital costs of $62.3 million, annual costs of $24.6 million, and will close an estimated two to four businesses.
  • New ozone regulations, also courtesy of the EPA. The 178-page rule is economically significant, though the EPA declined to include any cost data with the rule, instead referring the reader to outside documents. This is not good transparency on the EPA’s part. For now, I am scoring it as zero-cost in the running compliance cost tally, but hope to include its figures, if they are in fact publicly available, in the near future.
  • 30-day delay on new labor regulations for domestic workers.
  • Rules for historical research in the Defense Secretary’s files.
  • An economically significant rule for agricultural quarantines. Some fees are being lowered, and others are being adjusted for inflation. But a lengthy section titled “Economic Impacts” never actually says what the total impact will be. This is an unfortunate lack of transparency from the Animal and Plant health Inspection Service, forcing me to score this rule as zero-cost on the running compliance cost tally.
  • Government health care being what it is, the Veterans Affairs Department is wisely expanding options for veterans to pursue non-VA health care. The rule is economically significant, with $10 billion of funding through 2017. Since this is government spending and not compliance costs, I am scoring it as zero-cost on the running compliance cost tally.
  • Airplane passengers and crew may travel with e-cigarettes in their carry-on luggage, but not in their carry-on luggage. This is “to address an immediate safety risk.”
  • $15.4 billion in economically significant education spending over the period 1994-2025. Again, since this is spending, I am scoring it as zero-cost in the compliance cost tally.

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