This Week in Ridiculous Regulations
President Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis marked the first of what will likely be many October surprises. Congress agreed on one spending bill to avoid another shutdown, but remains deadlocked on a separate COVID-related spending bill. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from TikTok to boat engines.
On to the data:
- Last week, 73 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 69 the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 18 minutes.
- Federal agencies have issued 2,470 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,216 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
- There were 45 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,663 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,165 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,146 proposed regulations.
- Last week, agencies published 473 notices, for a total of 16,978 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,107 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
- Last week, 1,855 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,509 pages the previous week.
- The 2020 Federal Register totals 62,537 pages. It is on pace for 81,429 pages. The 2019 total was 70,938 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. Four such rules were published in 2019.
- The running cost tally for 2020’s economically significant regulations ranges from net savings of between $1.19 billion and $4.19 billion. 2019’s total ranges from net savings of $350 million to $650 million, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact number depends on discount rates and other assumptions.
- Agencies have published 56 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
- So far in 2020, 487 new rules affect small businesses; 20 of them are classified as significant. 2019’s totals were 501 rules affecting small businesses, with 22 of them deemed significant.
Highlights from last week’s new regulations:
- A new regulation to “Address the Threat Posed by TikTok.” It must have been a slow week over at the Commerce Department.
- Emission standards for diesel engines on boats.
- The pine shoot beetle has been deregulated.
- Retirement-related income tax withholding.
- Sanctions from the International Criminal Court.
- Another type of fentanyl is now a Schedule I controlled substance, per the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
- Sanctions against Iran related to weapons of mass destruction.
- Albacore tuna quotas.
- Flatfish in the Bering Sea.
- Importing prescription drugs.
- Requirements for getting money from the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Instructions for paperwork related to low-level radioactive waste.
- The DEA is getting interfering with online pharmacies.
- The Domestic Mail Manual.
- The International Mail Manual.
- The trispot darter is now a threatened species. It is receiving 175.4 miles of stream and 9,929 acres of critical habitat.
- Guidance on federal conformity assessment activities.
- Creating economic opportunities for low-income people and businesses. For more, and better, ideas on how to do this, see CEI’s #NeverNeeded website at neverneeded.cei.org.
- Basic research for the military.
- Guidance document reform from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
- And the Commerce Department.
For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.