1) March 21: New emissions standards are adopted for hundreds of thousands of commercial, institutional and industrial boilers. The price tag, according to a study by the economic forecasting firm IHS Global Insight? $20 billion. The rules would cause “significant new regulatory costs” for businesses, institutions and municipalities nationwide, the Small Business Administration warned. A Commerce Department analysis reportedly found they would result in 40,000 to 60,000 lost jobs.
2) Aug. 8: A new rule forces 27 eastern, mid-western, and southern states to achieve more stringent emissions reductions from power plants. Texas and 26 other states have challenged it, calling it a threat to the reliability of the electrical supply. Annual cost: $846.33 million. Don’t expect this one to reduce unemployment either.
3) Sept. 15: New fuel efficiency and, yes, emissions standards go into effect for combination tractors, heavy-duty pickups and vans, and vocational vehicles. The rule is expected to drive up prices for trucks by up to $6,000. And who does the added burden fall most heavily on? Small, independent owner-operators of trucks. Annual cost: $606.9 million.
Many of these regulations, not surprisingly, are created not by politicians but by bureaucrats who are unaccountable to voters. Which points to one obvious solution: We need to require congressional approval of major new rules. A new congressional office to analyze proposed regulations and their likely effect would also help, as well as a “sunset,” or expiration date. That would help clear outdated rules off the books.
The stakes are high. “Regulation may crush the life out of America’s economy,” The Economist concludes. Is Congress going to stand by and let that happen?