CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

This week in the world of regulation:

  • Last week, 80 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register. There were 96 new final rules the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every 2 hours and 6 minutes — 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • All in all, 1,768 final rules have been published in the Federal Register this year.
  • If this keeps up, the total tally for 2013 will be 3,605 new final rules.
  • Last week, 1,461 new pages were added to the 2013 Federal Register, for a total of 39,104 pages.
  • At its current pace, the 2013 Federal Register will run 78,208 pages.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. One such rule was published last week, for a total of 15 so far in 2013.
  • The total estimated compliance costs of this year’s economically significant regulations ranges from $5.78 billion to $10.39 billion.
  • So far, 124 final rules that meet the broader definition of “significant” have been published in 2013.
  • So far this year, 306 final rules affect small business; 28 of them are significant rules.

Highlights from final rules published last week:

  • This week’s economically significant rule sets national standards for school lunches and breakfasts. The rule does not include a cost estimate, claiming that “it is not possible to define a level of disease or cost reduction expected to result from implementation of the rule.” This is a basic failure of transparency. That the Food and Nutrition Service is unwilling to include cost-benefit analysis implies that even the agency believes that this rule’s effect on childhood obesity will be imperceptible. I have placed this rule’s costs at the bare minimum of $100 million needed for it to qualify for its economically significant status. Given the multi-billion dollar costs of other federal school lunch rules, this could be a severe underestimate.
  • It took the Forest Service nearly two pages to define what a ski area is.
  • The Coast Guard is establishing 23 different safety zones, security zones, and the like for fireworks shows and other summer events across the country.
  • The Postal Service is updating its refund and exchange policies.
  • New safety standards for infant walkers and swings.
  • The National Park Service is changing its policies regarding protesting and pamphleteering in national parks.

For more data, go to TenThousandCommandments.com.