This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

With the new administration’s regulatory freeze now in full effect, there were just 8 proposed new regulations published last week. This was the lowest figure since the last government shutdown.

The number of new final regulations, 57, was in its normal range, though several of them were simply notices that earlier final regulations are being delayed. The freeze is unlikely to have much long-term effect. Most of the affected rules will still pass, just a bit later than initially planned. But the midnight rush has slowed to a typical new-administration crawl.

The 1996 Congressional Review Act, used just once since its passage to strike down a single regulation, may also play a role in the next few weeks. Rules under possible review range from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Moistures of the United States regulation to various parts of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill.

Rules passed during the last week spanned the periodic table from beryllium (Be, atomic number 4) to cadmium (Cd, atomic number 48) to uranium (U, atomic number 92).

On to the data:

  • Last week, 57 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 47 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 57 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 313 final regulations in 2017. At that pace, there will be 3,402 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,853 regulations.
  • Last week, 683 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,022 pages the previous week.
  • The 2017 Federal Register totals 9,341 pages. It is on pace for 101,533 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (which subtracts skips, jumps, and blank pages) is 96,994, set last year. The unadjusted count was 97,110 pages.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. Seven such rules have been published this year, none in the last week.
  • The running compliance cost tally for 2016’s economically significant regulations ranges from $6.8 billion to $13.2 billion.
  • Agencies have published 33 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year.
  • In 2017, 37 new rules affected small businesses; 5 of them are classified as significant. 

Highlights from selected final rules published last week:

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