Week in Regulation

$18.1 Billion in Regulatory Costs

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The administration is wasting little time with regulation in 2016. After a $2 billion week to start the year, regulators published $18.1 billion in new rulemakings this week. Annualized costs were $987 million, compared to $4 billion in benefits; paperwork accelerated by more than 550,000 hours. Energy and environmental regulations highlighted a busy week. The per capita regulatory burden for 2016 is already $63.

Regulatory Toplines

  • New Proposed Rules: 46
  • New Final Rules: 70
  • 2016 Total Pages of Regulation: 2,724
  • 2016 Final Rules: $17.5 Billion
  • 2016 Proposed Rules: $2.8 Billion

The American Action Forum (AAF) has catalogued regulations according to their codification in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The CFR is organized into 50 titles, with each title corresponding to an industry or part of government. This snapshot will help to determine which sectors of the economy receive the highest number of regulatory actions.

The Department of Energy (DOE) published a long awaited combined rulemaking for air conditioning and heating equipment. Although the White House finished review of the measure in early December, it was left in regulatory limbo for more than a month. The resulting regulation costs $15 billion and is guaranteed to raise prices for consumers. With the direct final rule, DOE is also publishing a proposed rule and it will take comments from the public.

This year might be rough on the ceiling fan industry. After a measure on ceiling fan light kits last week, DOE proposed additional efficiency standards for ceiling fans. This proposal will impose $140 million in annual burdens, compared to $310 million in benefits. According to the agency, consumers could pay an additional $10 to $300 for ceiling fans because of this new federal regulation.

The EPA proposed regional haze rules for Utah, in a measure that could costs more than $430 million. The standards would affect four generating units at the Hunter and Huntington power plants. In addition to initial capital costs for installing new equipment, EPA estimates $51 million in ongoing annual burdens.

Finally, the Department of Justice (DOJ), published its somewhat controversial rule enhancing background checks for “machine guns.” The rule requires trusts and legal entities (partnerships and corporations) to allow DOJ to verify that anyone receiving firearms is not prohibited from possessing them. Annual costs are somewhat minor ($29 million), but paperwork will increase by more than 500,000 hours.

Affordable Care Act

Since passage, based on total lifetime costs of the regulations, the Affordable Care Act has imposed costs of $49.9 billion in state and private-sector burdens and 175.1 million annual paperwork hours.


Click here to view the total estimated revised costs from Dodd-Frank; since passage, the legislation has produced more than 76.6 million paperwork burden hours and imposed $39.3 billion in direct compliance costs.

Total Burdens

Since January 1, the federal government has published $20.4 billion in compliance costs ($17.5 billion in final rules) and has imposed 569,000 net paperwork burden hours (539,000 from final rules). Click below for the latest Reg Rodeo findings.