This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

As the 2016 Federal Register crossed the 75,000-page mark, agencies issued new regulations covering everything from UHF television to refrigerators. Currently on pace to exceed 90,000 pages, the Federal Register may break its all-time record page count by more than 10 percent, which hasn’t happened since the Carter administration.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 62 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 95 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hour and 43 minutes.
  • With 3,127 final regulations published so far in 2016, the federal government is on pace to issue 3,740 regulations in 2016. Last year’s total was 3,406 regulations.
  • Last week, 2,299 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,688 pages the previous week.
  • Currently at 75,313 pages, the 2016 Federal Register is on pace for 90,088 pages. This would exceed the 2010 Federal Register’s all-time record adjusted page count of 81,405.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. 29 such rules have been published so far in 2016, three in the last week.
  • The running compliance cost tally for 2016’s economically significant regulations ranges from $23.5 billion to $36.2 billion.
  • 244 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published this year.
  • So far in 2016, 536 new rules affect small businesses; 93 of them are classified as significant. 

Highlights from selected final rules published last week:

  • The biggest regulation of the week, by far, was a joint rule from the EPA and the Transportation Department regarding greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. Over the period 2018-2029, it will cost an estimated $18.8 billion to $29.3 billion, depending which scenario and which discount rate one uses.
  • The second biggest regulation of the week is as refrigerator energy-usage regulation that will cost an estimated $116 million to $157 million per year.
  • The third biggest regulation of the week concerns cross-state air pollution. It will cost an estimated $68 million annually.
  • Tax increase for apricot growers in select counties in Washington State.
  • Federal recognition of the new Appalachian High Country wine-growing region covering parts of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
  • The FDA is amending its ozone policies.
  • The Postal Service announced its annual price changes for its domestic and international services.
  • A new regulation for television stations which broadcast in UHF.

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