CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation


Just another week in the world of regulation:

  •  74 new final rules were published last week, down from 76 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every 2 hours and 16 minutes — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • All in all, 2,581 final rules have been published in the Federal Register this year.
  • If this keeps up, the total tally for 2012 will be 3,872 new rules.
  • 2,086 new pages were added to the 2012 Federal Register last week, for a total of 53,683 pages.
  • At its current pace, the 2012 Federal Register will run 78,946 pages.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. The 31 such rules published so far in 2012 have compliance costs of at least $16.5 billion. Two of the rules do not have cost estimates, and a third cost estimate does not give a total annual cost. We assume that rules lacking this basic transparency measure cost the bare minimum of $100 million per year. The true cost is almost certainly higher.
  • Two economically significant rules were published last week.
  • So far, 258 final rules that meet the broader definition of “significant” have been published in 2012.
  • So far this year, 484 final rules affect small business. 68 of them are significant rules.

Highlights from final rules published last week:

  • Both of last week’s economically significant rules come from the Fish and Wildlife Service, which sets the rules for hunting migratory birds. The cost analysis in both cases is lacking; they claim that hunters will spend $1.2 billion at businesses in hunting areas, which is well and good. Of course, they would have spent the money elsewhere if they didn’t go hunting, meaning the net effect on GDP is near-zero. And there is nary a word about compliance costs or paperwork hours. As such, I have no choice but to score these rules as zero-cost on the running tally of this year’s economically significant rule compliance costs.
  • New federal reporting requirements for cranberry growers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Long Island.
  • The Consumer Safety Product Safety Commission, in accordance with the Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act, passed a new regulation for children’s play yards.
  • The Agricultural Marketing Service is raising its assessment on imported cotton to the same level charged for domestic cotton. The federal government shouldn’t be marketing farm products. That’s what trade associations are for. But if they’re going to do it, at least they’re trying not to give preferential treatment to some producers over others.

For more data, go to TenThousandCommandments.com.

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