CEI’s Report Card on the EPA

Ryan Young reports that the information is included in a report card [pdf] of sorts by his organization, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

"There is a lot of scattered information from scattered sources about regulation, about what each agency is up to, and no one is actually collecting all this disparate information and putting it into a single place," he explains. "We released such a report card on the EPA. It collects information about how much the EPA's regulations cost [and] what rules are coming down the pipeline — all in one place that before was all spread around."

Overall, Young says the EPA's budget of about $11 billion is "pretty modest" in Washington terms.

"But the agency's budget is less than a thirtieth of what its regulations cost — that number is $353 billion, and that's out of $1.8 trillion total," he details. "So, the EPA alone is responsible for more than one-sixth of the entire federal regulatory burden. That $353 billion, by the way — it's bigger than Denmark's entire 2011 GDP."

As far as how many regulations there are, the CEI fellow says the EPA was not willing to come out with that information. But he estimates that the EPA averages about 300 new, final rules per year.

"From the period 1999 through last year, they put out 4,995 rules in the unified agenda, which is a docket that all rule-making agencies contribute to twice a year," Young relays. "So, a little less than 5,000 of those, but over the same period, they actually promulgated more than 7,000 final rules."

He concludes that that is evidence of what could be a major transparency problem.

"More than 2,000 final rules that have the force of law hit the books without first appearing in the unified agenda, where analysts and researchers and interested parties could take a look at the rules and add their input to it."