Also on hold are various regulations … that would dramatically increase energy costs, .. —estimated to cost $79 billion to $110 billion and thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Missouri and Ohio.
After three years of hyper-regulation, the Obama Administration has noticeably slowed its rulemaking in recent months. A variety of major rules have been parked in prolonged “review” by the White House, while the regulatory agenda required by statute has failed to materialize—twice. This flouting of the law is disturbing enough, but it’s made worse by the mounting regulatory uncertainty that has ensued.
Congress mandated a regulatory agenda from each agency in 1980, under the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The statute calls for release every April and October of a summary of all rules likely to have a “significant economic impact” on a substantial number of small firms. Subsequent executive orders extended the requirements to all regulations under development or review by some 60 departments, agencies, and commissions.
President Obama has ignored both the April 2012 and October 2012 agenda deadlines. The last agenda from the Administration, with 2,676 regulations, was published in fall 2011. The President’s neglect of the law contradicts his promise of an “unprecedented level of openness in government transparency.”
Notice of upcoming regulatory actions is an essential tool of government transparency and accountability. The agenda enables citizens to participate in the rulemaking process, businesses to plan, and Congress to engage in oversight. The stakes are especially high now because of the hundreds of rules yet to be finalized relating to the Dodd-Frank financial regulation statute and Obamacare.
The Administration has postponed action of late on some of its most ambitious regulations. For example, stricter standards on ozone emissions have been shelved until 2013. The original proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency would cost $90 billion or more annually and, potentially, jeopardize millions of jobs.
Also on hold are various regulations to control power plant emissions of so-called greenhouse gases that would dramatically increase energy costs, as well as the designation of coal ash as a “hazardous substance”—estimated to cost $79 billion to $110 billion and thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Missouri and Ohio.
There is ample reason to believe that this recent “draw-back” of rulemaking portends a regulatory tsunami in the coming year. Of particular note is the large number of proposed regulations that are piling up at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), the department within the Office of Management and Budget which reviews rules before they are published in the Federal Register.
According to OIRA data, a whopping 78 percent of the 151 regulations awaiting review have been pending at the office for more than 90 days—thus exceeding the maximum time allotted under executive order.
Among the most costly:
- A Department of Transportation rule to require a rear-view camera and video display for all new cars and trucks, at an estimated cost of up to $2.7 billion.
- Revisions to the so-called Boiler MACT rules that impose stricter limits on industrial and commercial boilers and incinerators. The EPA pegged the cost of its original proposal at $9.5 billion, but independent analysts estimated the cost to be as much as $20 billion.
- Energy conservation standards for walk-in coolers and freezers as well as commercial refrigeration, which would apply to virtually all equipment used in retail food stores. This is estimated by the Department of Energy to increase manufacturing costs by $500 million over four years.
- Department of Labor restrictions on worker exposure to crystalline silica (fine particles of sand common to mining, manufacturing and construction). One analysis submitted to OIRA by engineering and economic consultants estimated compliance costs would be $5.5 billion annually, the loss of 17,000 “person-years” of employment, and $3.1 billion of economic output each year.
It would be good news for both the economy and consumers if the rulemaking delays are a result of more thorough cost analysis or consideration of regulatory alternatives. But there’s no indication that the Administration has embraced a newfound skepticism toward red tape. The evidence instead suggests that a multitude of major rules are simply awaiting release next year.
No one knows for certain, of course. But that very uncertainty is itself damaging to the economy. That is one important reason Congress requires the Administration to disclose its regulatory intentions in semi-annual agendas. President Obama should follow that law.
Read the full report: Obama’s Regulatory Agenda: Calm Before the Superstorm
Also please consider:
Obama promised to make electricity rates “skyrocket” in 2008. He has kept that promise. The result is the destruction of an entire industry that provides thousands of jobs and cheap electricity. This is just one of many job killing policies of Obama’s jobs focus. Can we afford four more years of economic suicide?
Before his election Obama promised his plan would make electricity rates ‘skyrocket’. Since he took office the price of oil has skyrocketed 117% and gasoline has increased 67%. While talking big on energy independence Obama’s real energy agenda is pushed by his tyrannical EPA.
It is economic suicide to use a disproved theory of global warming as an excuse to minimize energy production of our own US resources. The EPA is waging a war on oil.
West Virginia has had to sue the EPA over coal killing regulations. In speaking of the lawsuit Gov. Manchin said “Over the past year and a half, we have been fighting President Obama’s administration’s attempts to destroy our coal industry and way of life in West Virginia”. He went on to say that the EPA has “usurped the authority of the state and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to oversee and regulate important aspects of our environment, like water quality,” and “These actions by U.S. EPA are threatening not only to end surface coal mining in West Virginia but to affect all forms of mining in the state.”
A report put out by by the minority on the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works entitled EPA’S ANTI-INDUSTRIAL POLICY: “THREATENING JOBS AND AMERICA’S MANUFACTURING BASE” stated that:
“The evidence is clear: these rules threaten the economic viability of America’s manufacturing base and hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs. Moreover, these rules will bring little, if any, public health or environmental benefits. As Americans suffer through a jobless recovery, EPA is pursuing policies that exacerbate our economic problems and do not improve the environment.”
Further on it points out that by the EPA’s own estimate these rules will have an environmental effect so minuscule as to be immeasurable.
‘One might expect that these costs would at least be offset with meaningful environmental benefits. Yet EPA’s own analysis shows that’s not the case. In estimating the impacts on global temperatures of the agency’s mobile source rule, EPA concluded:
“Based on the reanalysis the results for projected atmospheric CO2 concentrations are estimated to be reduced by an average of 2.9 ppm (previously 3.0 ppm), global mean temperature is estimated to be reduced by 0.006 to 0.0015 °C by 2100.”’ [emphasis added]
And yet these rules and regulations would kill tens of thousands of jobs in construction, steel plants, coal industry, oil production, gasoline refineries. It would cause the loss of coal plants, cement plants, and has already cost tens of thousands of jobs in the oil industry on the gulf coast. An ally of the EPA action, The Sierra Club, brags that it has stopped 100 new coal plants since 2001. “Stopping one hundred coal plants is a huge milestone in our fight to end global warming, but the coal industry is still pushing forward with plans for dozens of new plants in places, like Michigan and Kansas, and pouring money into slick advertising campaigns and lobbying efforts,” said Nilles. “As we celebrate this amazing milestone, we must redouble our efforts to stop new plants and replace the existing coal plants with clean energy.” ~ Sierra Club press release. The Sierra Club is a powerful Washington lobbyist spending $1,580,000 on lobbying in the last three years according to OpenSecrets. Environmental groups as an industry have spent $14,746,646 on lobbying in 2010, $22,458,950 in 2009 and $17,953,057 in 2008 for a total in the last three years of over $55 MILLION!
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