This week in ridiculous regulations: cloudy guidance documents and potato ledprona
The number of new final regulations this year topped 1,000 last week. It was the rare 3,000-page for the Federal Register, which will likely surpass 30,000 pages early this week. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates, and the labor force grew by 253,000 people. The Supreme Court agreed to hear about Chevron deference, under which courts defer to regulatory agencies. New York passed a law banning natural gas in new buildings. Meanwhile, agencies issued new regulations ranging from clothing storage safety to blower energy.
On to the data:
- Agencies issued 37 final regulations last week, after 62 the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every four hours and 32 minutes.
- With 1,034 final regulations so far in 2023, agencies are on pace to issue 2,971 final regulations this year.
- For comparison, there were 3,168 new final regulations in 2022, and 3,257 new final regulations in 2021.
- Agencies issued 55 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 37 the previous week.
- With 766 proposed regulations so far in 2023, agencies are on pace to issue 2,201 proposed regulations this year.
- For comparison, there were 2,044 new proposed regulations in 2022, and 2,094 in 2021.
- Agencies published 513 notices last week, after 412 notices the previous week.
- With 7,757 notices so far in 2023, agencies are on pace to issue 22,290 notices this year.
- For comparison, there were 22,505 notices in 2022, and 20,018 in 2021.
- Last week, 3,066 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,788 pages the previous week.
- The average Federal Register issue in 2023 contains 339 pages.
- With 29,533 pages so far, the 2023 Federal Register is on pace for 84,865 pages.
- For comparison, the 2022 Federal Register totals 80,756 pages, and 2021’s is 74,352 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. This will soon change to $200 million. There are eight such rules so far in 2023, none in the last week.
- This is on pace for 23 economically significant regulations in 2023.
- For comparison, there were 43 economically significant rules in 2022, and 26 in 2021. These comparisons will not be strictly apple-to-apple after the threshold change takes effect. This will likely lower this year’s number.
- The total estimated cost of 2023’s economically significant regulations so far ranges from $55.92 billion to $78.74 billion, according to numbers self-reported by agencies.
- For comparison, the running cost tally for 2022’s economically significant rules ranges from net costs of $45.28 billion to $78.05 billion. In 2021, net costs ranged from $13.54 billion to $19.36 billion. The exact numbers depend on discount rates and other assumptions.
- There were two regulations meeting the broader definition of “significant” last week, after five the previous week.
- So far this year, there are 86 new regulations meeting the broader definition of “significant.” This is on pace for 247 significant regulations in 2023.
- For comparison, there were 255 such new regulations in 2022, and 387 in 2021.
- So far in 2023, 255 new regulations affect small businesses, on pace for 733. Twenty-four of them are significant, on pace for 69.
- For comparison, in 2022 there were 912 rules affecting small businesses, 70 of them significant. 2021’s totals were 912 rules affecting small businesses, 101 of them significant.
Highlights from last week’s new regulations:
- The Agriculture Department is making its guidance documents less transparent to the public.
- Energy conservation tests for vending machines.
- Energy conservation tests for walk-in coolers and freezers.
- Energy conservation tests for fans and blowers.
- Safety standards for clothing storage units.
- Digitizing permanent records at the National Archives and Records Administration.
- Ledprona for use in or on potatoes.
- Designated critical habitat for slickspot peppergrass.
- Marketing boundaries for official grain inspection services. This would be an antitrust violation for most private sector companies.
- Environmental standards for electric equipment at nuclear power plants.
- Spiny dogfish specifications.
- Incentives for advanced cybersecurity investment.
- Procedures for drug testing of transportation workers.
- Extending Medicare’s Diabetes Prevention Program.
- Phone service subsidies in Puerto Rico.
- Ownership eligibility requirements for Small Business Administration assistance.
For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.