This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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A massive snowstorm with heavy winds hit most of the U.S. just in time for Christmas. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy traveled to Washington and addressed a joint session of Congress. The January 6 Committee released its final report and recommended criminal charges for former President Trump, including insurrection, though the decision is the Justice Department’s to make. Meanwhile, agencies issued new regulations ranging from wind energy to yogurt.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 82 final regulations last week, after 74 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and three minutes.
  • With 3,108 final regulations so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 3,146 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 40 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 44 the previous week.
  • With 2,019 proposed regulations so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 2,044 proposed regulations this year.
  • For comparison, there were 2,094 new proposed regulations in 2021 and 2,094 in 2020.
  • Agencies published 505 notices last week, after 392 notices the previous week.
  • With 22,185 notices so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 22,456 notices this year.
  • For comparison, there were 20,018 notices in 2021. 2020’s total was 22,584.
  • Last week, 1,702 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,564 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue in 2022 contains 322 pages.
  • With 79,212 pages so far, the 2022 Federal Register is on pace for 80,178 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 43 such rules so far in 2021, one from the last week. That is on pace for 44 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 costs of $45.28 billion to $78.05 billion, according to numbers provided by the agencies themselves. However, this 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 costs of $13.54 billion to $19.36 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 250 new regulations meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far in 2022. That is on pace for 253 significant rules for the year.
  • For comparison, there were 387 such new regulations in 2021 and 69 in 2020.
  • So far in 2022, 893 new regulations affect small businesses, on pace for 908. Sixty-nine of them are significant, on pace for 70.
  • For comparison, in 2021 there were 912 rules 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:

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