This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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Nearly 1 million jobs were created in July, while Congress put the finishing touches on an infrastructure bill that will add about $250 billion to the deficit. Although only nine new regulations classified as “significant” were published in the past week, the year-to-date tally on the Federal Register’s official website somehow jumped from 31 to 266 last week (see my related Twitter thread). This is due to years-long transparency problems. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from hydroelectric permits to flying service animals.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 67 final regulations last week, after 63 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 31 minutes.
  • With 1,934 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 38 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 70 the previous week.
  • With 1,262 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,117 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,021 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 394 notices last week, after 444 notices the previous week.
  • With 13,047 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 21,891 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,998 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,440 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 287 pages.
  • With 43,380 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 72,785 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 seven such rules so far in 2021, four 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$1.17 billion to $2.13 billion. 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 266 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2021, with nine in the last week. This is on pace for 446 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 528 new rules affect small businesses. 70 are classified as significant. 2020’s totals were 668 rules affecting small businesses, 26 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new regulations:

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