Turning to 2014, how will the year stack up for issuing federal rules and regulation sans Congressional involvement? Fasten your seat belts, for federal agencies are off to a running start! It will be a bumpy ride. Expect contentious fights ahead over many new rules stemming from ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, Immigration, EPA regulations, Energy, Climate Change, and a host of other issues.
In the first thee days of 2014 there were 141 new regulations issued by federal agencies. Of the 141 issued 119 are "rulemaking," meaning they establish a new rule; twenty-three are "non-rulemaking," meaning the regulation does not establish a new rule. It is no surprise that the largest group of regulations have to do with energy and environmental issues and were issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Noted here are two of the new EPA regulations set forth during the first three days of 2014:
• On Friday, January 3rd, the EPA published its final carbon capture regulation rule that is meant to remove potential obstacles in the implementation of carbon capture and sequestration (CSS) technology. These standards are viewed by many as a "war on coal" as carbon capture is costly and unproven. http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/New-EPA-Rules-Seek-to-Usher-in-Coal-less-Era.html
• Also on Friday, January 3rd, the EPA proposed new standards for harmful emissions from new woodstoves and heaters. These standards would not take effect until 2015 and would only apply to wood heaters made after that. The claim is made that this rule would significantly reduce the pollution linked to heart attacks, strokes and asthma. http://blogs.courier-journal.com/watchdogearth/2014/01/07/epa-proposes-strict-new-wood-stove-standards/
The Hill, in its December 29, 2013 report, listed the ten biggest regulatory fights expected to take place in 2014:
1. Emissions standards for existing power plants. Obama has given the EPA until June to propose regulations limiting carbon emissions from existing power plants, the centerpiece of Obama's climate change plan.
2. Regulations coming to e-cigarettes, cigars. The FDA is working on a regulation that could extend current rules to e-cigarettes, which produce vapor instead of smoke.
3. ObamaCare's birth control mandate heads to court. The High Court is expected to hear arguments in the spring, agreeing as it did last November to hear a challenge to the Affordable Care Act's so-called birth-control mandate.
4. Turbulence over plan to allow phones on planes. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) voted in mid December, 2013, to consider lifting the longstanding ban on in-flight cell phone use. The prospect of loud conversations has sparked fierce opposition. While cell phone use is acceptable for FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, as it means fear about interference is no longer an issue, Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx, could step in to prohibit in-flight calls by imposing a new regulation.
5. EPA to assert power over streams and ponds. The EPA has started the process of declaring that it has the power to regulate streams, brooks, and small ponds, as it seeks to clear up uncertainly about its powers under the Clean Water Act. This followed a Supreme Court ruling last year which cast doubt on the extent of the EPA's authority
6. Smog rule on the way. Obama dealt a blow to environmental activists in 2011 when he killed an EPA attempt to issue new standards on ozone, said to be the main contributor of smog. Obama proclaimed at the time that regulatory burdens could hurt the still-struggling economy, and how new rules were not necessary since the EPA was scheduled to review smog standards in 2013. Significant strides are predicted in 2014..
7. SEC to force executives to disclose pay. This is one of hundreds of regulations under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law that has not yet been implemented as a way to tighten the government's reins on the financial sector. This is a potentially contentious regulation for companies who do not wish to disclose the gap in pay between their chief executives and average employees. Predicted is that its fate may ultimately by decided in the Courts.
8. Calorie count coming to restaurant menus. This is one of the lesser-known provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The provision also includes snacks sold in vending machines.
9 . Delays to rearview camera rule under attack. The Department of Transportation is already two years late on a regulation requiring all cars to have rearview cameras or similar technology.
10. OSHA to rekindle combustible dust debate. Although OSHA began work on a rule to regulate combustible dust in 2009, spring is the target date for proposing a new resolution. Businesses complain of the cost involved.
Are you one of many Americans who fails to connect the dots between government spending and how more government affects your lives. Must likely you were shocked at the 3,659 rules and regulations issued in 2013, never realizing that the cost of big government affects the broader economy by way of fewer jobs, less income, and more expensive products and services. Regulatory costs in 2013 amounted to $14,678 per family.
Mentioned by Thorner were two Rules and Regulations issued by the EPA in the first three days of 2014. Although the EPA might only cost taxpayers about $8 billion in operational costs, the regulations put forth by the agency cost the economy untold hundreds of billions of dollars per year. Regulations by the EPA were up 44% in Obama's first term. Other active rule-producing agencies are the Departments of the Treasury, Commerce, the Interior, Agriculture, and Transportation.
For your information, check out the Competitive Enterprise Institute report titled, Ten Thousand Commandments, which details the size, scope and cost of the federal regulatory behemoth, all 3,659 of them. cei.org/studies/ten-thousand-commandments-2013
As stated by Daniel Horowitz in The Hidden Tax of the Regulatory State: http://www.redstate.com/2013/05/30/the-hidden-tax-of-the-regulatory-state/
Every Republican consultant is now giving advice on how to revive the languishing GOP. Some are pushing amnesty, others are pushing gay marriage, and still others are trying to resurrect compassionate conservatism. But we all know that the best strategy is one that effectively communicates to the American people how big government diminishes their quality of life. The regulatory state is a great place to start.
Dismantling the Regulatory State is a Good Place to Start: Part 1: Obama outshines Presidential peers: 3,659 Rules and Regulations during 2013