This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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The Olympic games began in Tokyo, after being delayed a year due to COVID-19. Congress is working its way through a $3.5 trillion spending bill that will reportedly include carbon tariffs. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from oil royalties to squid specifications.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 72 final regulations last week, after 75 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 20 minutes.
  • With 1,804 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,245 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,218 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 45 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 21 the previous week.
  • With 1,154 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,076 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,021 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 456 notices last week, after 355 notices the previous week.
  • With 12,209 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 21,959 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 2,045 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,405 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 287 pages.
  • With 39,937 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 71,829 pages in 2021. The 2020 total was 87,352 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (subtracting 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. There are two such rules so far in 2021, none from the last week. Agencies published five economically significant rules in 2020, and four in 2019.
  • The running cost tally for 2021’s economically significant rules ranges from net savings of $100.7 million to net costs of $362.5 million. The 2020 figure ranges from net savings of between $2.04 billion and $5.69 billion, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact numbers depend on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 22 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2021, with one in the last week. This is on pace for 40 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 387 new rules affect small businesses. Seven are classified as significant. 2020’s totals were 668 rules affecting small businesses, 26 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new regulations:

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