This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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Just two more weeks until the relentless barrage of misleading election ads goes away. The Energy Information Administration warned that heating bills could get ugly this winter. The Kroger and Albertsons grocery chains announced plans to merge. Meanwhile, agencies issued new regulations ranging from fish product deadlines to veterinary device imports.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 55 final regulations last week, after 50 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and three minutes.
  • With 2,523 final regulations so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 3,123 final regulations this year.
  • For comparison, there were 3,257 new final regulations in 2021, President Biden’s first year, and 3,218 in 2020, President Trump’s final year.
  • Agencies issued 42 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 24 the previous week.
  • With 1,647 proposed regulations so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 2,038 proposed regulations this year.
  • For comparison, there were 2,094 new proposed regulations in 2021, and 2,094 in 2020.
  • Agencies published 454 notices last week, after 497 notices the previous week.
  • With 18,248 notices so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 22,467 notices this year.
  • For comparison, there were 20,018 notices in 2021. 2020’s total was 22,584.
  • Last week, 1,426 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,501 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue in 2022 contains 316 pages.
  • With 64,148 pages so far, the 2022 Federal Register is on pace for 79,391 pages. For comparison, the 2021 Federal Register totals 74,352 pages and 2020’s is 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 34 such rules so far in 2021, none from the last week.
  • This is on pace for 42 economically significant regulations in 2022.
  • For comparison, there were 26 economically significant rules in 2021, and five in 2020.
  • The total cost of 2022’s economically significant regulations so far is for net savings of $12.48 billion to $19.59 billion, according to numbers provided by the agencies themselves. However, that figure is incomplete. Three economically significant rules issued this year do not give the required cost estimates.
  • For comparison, the running cost tally for 2021’s economically significant rules is for net savings of $733.45 million to $31.46 billion. The 2020 figure is for net savings of $2.04 billion to $5.69 billion, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact numbers depend on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • There are 206 new regulations meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far in 2022. That is on pace for 255 significant rules for the year.
  • For comparison, there were 387 such new regulations in 2021 and 79 in 2020.
  • So far in 2022, 697 new regulations affect small businesses, on pace for 858. Fifty-seven of them are significant, on pace for 70.
  • For comparison, there were 912 rules in 2021 affecting small businesses, with 101 of them 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.