This Week in Ridiculous Regulations
Congress finished the year with a bang. In a two day span the House impeached the president and passed the USMCA trade agreement. Both chambers passed a massive spending bill to fund the government through next September. The 2019 Federal Register also surpassed 70,000 pages. Meanwhile, agencies published new regulations ranging from bunker fuel to irradiated drugs.
On to the data:
- Last week, 63 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 64 the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 40 minutes.
- Federal agencies have issued 2,902 final regulations in 2019. At that pace, there will be 2,974 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,367 regulations.
- Last week, agencies published 447 notices, for a total of 21,266 in 2019. At that pace, there will be 21,787 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,656.
- Last week, 2,064 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,155 pages the previous week.
- The 2019 Federal Register totals 70,391 pages. It is on pace for 72,115 pages. The 2018 total was 68,302 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (which subtracts skips, jumps, and blank pages) is 96,994, set in 2016.
- Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. Four such rules have been published this year. Five such rules were published in 2018.
- The running cost tally for 2019’s economically significant regulations currently ranges from savings of $4.39 billion to $4.08 billion, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The 2018 total ranges from net costs of $220.1 million to $2.54 billion, depending on discount rates and other assumptions.
- Agencies have published 65 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2018’s total was 108 significant final rules.
- So far in 2019, 488 new rules affect small businesses; 21 of them are classified as significant. 2018’s totals were 660 rules affecting small businesses, with 29 of them significant.
Highlights from last week’s new final regulations:
- In a nice bit of housekeeping, the Interior Department is getting rid of obsolete statute references and other obsolete language in its acquisition regulations.
- The phaseout of bunker fuel continues. CEI’s Marc Scribner has written on bunker fuel here, here, and here.
- The federal government is establishing a hemp production program.
- The Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
- The National Credit Union Administration is delaying some rules for risk-based capital.
- Irradiated drugs.
- Revisions to the New Hampshire Underground Storage Tank Program.
- Soy leghemoglobin, which is type of a food coloring and not a declarative statement in Spanish, is now exempt from certification.
- The Hawaiian goose is being upgraded from endangered to threatened.
- Children’s television programming rules from the Federal Communications Commission.
- Shrimp trawling and sea turtle protection.
- Electrotherapy for clinical depression.
For more data, see “Ten Thousand Commandments” and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.