Just under three weeks in, the Obama administration has already managed to finalize 78 new regulations and set the wheels in motion for hundreds of millions of dollars in increased regulatory compliance costs in 2015. According to experts, the regulatory deluge from the waning administration will only increase in intensity in coming months.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute released a report Monday noting that 40 new final regulations totaling 1,119 pages were added to the Federal Register last week, meaning that the Obama administration cranked out one new regulation every four hours and 12 minutes.
So far in 2015 the administration has only produced one new rule that meets the criteria to be declared “economically significant,” bringing the compliance cost of new regulation to $477 million less than a month into the new year.
CEI highlighted the following regulatory activity from last week:
- The EPA issued a 122-page definition of “solid waste.”
- The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has indefinitely delayed a rule restricting imports and interstate movement of certain fish.
- In line with the recent move to open up U.S.-Cuba relations, the Industry and Security Bureau and the Foreign Assets Control Office issued new rules to begin implementing policy changes.
- The Mexican wolf is now an endangered species. An additional regulation covers an experimental population in Arizona and New Mexico intended to increase the Mexican wolf’s range.
- The FAA is withdrawing a rule which increased “the allowed use of aviation training devices” instead of actual flights for certain airplane pilot certification programs.
- In 2008, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act ended the Export Enhancement Program and the Dairy Export Incentive Program. Seven years later, the Commodity Credit Corporation issued a rule to remove regulations related to those programs from the Code of Federal Regulations.
- New energy efficiency standards for commercial washing machines.
- Mining machines are now required to have proximity detection systems.
While the government’s early 2015 regulatory agenda would appear weighty to many Americans, CEI noted that Americans would actually suffer less regulation this year if the administration continued at its current pace.
“Currently at 2,586 pages, the 2015 Federal Register is on pace for 58,773 pages, which would be the lowest page count since 1992,” the Institute said on its website.
With President Obama looking to make his mark in the time he has left in the White House, however, most watchers expect the pace of regulation to rapidly increase.
CEI analyst Wayne Crews issued a report last fall predicting that the total cost of new regulation in 2015 could soar to $1.8 trillion, more costly than that of 2014 and higher than the GDP of most of the world’s countries.