This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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CEI held its Julian Simon Award dinner, honoring the development economist William Easterly. We also paid remembrance to 2020’s winner, the late, great Steve Horwitz. Congress returned from recess and there is drama surrounding the debt limit and the proposed $3.5 trillion spending bill. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from imported animal drugs to cotton.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 59 final regulations last week, for the third straight week. Though not a meaningful coincidence, I do not believe this has happened before since I began tracking these numbers.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 51 minutes.
  • With 2,376 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,246 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,218 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 39 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 46 the previous week.
  • With 1,543 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,108 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,021 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 492 notices last week, after 458 notices the previous week.
  • With 16,153 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 22,067 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,113 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,231 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 291 pages.
  • With 53,182 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 72,656 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 10 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 $1.42 billion to $4.81 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 307 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2021, with six in the last week. This is on pace for 502 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 656 new rules affect small businesses; 82 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.