Not to be outdone by the congressional 1,603 page Cromnibus spending bill, government agencies in Washington added almost as many pages to the Federal Register with new regulations and rules last week alone.
The D.C. watchdog organization the Competitive Enterprise Institute notes that 63 final regulations were published last week, and 71 new rules were published in the previous week. That’s roughly a new regulation every two hours and 40 minutes. This year 3,377 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. If the pace continues, there would be a total of 3,532 new regulations this year.
According to CEI analyst Ryan Young, “Currently at 74,014 pages, the 2014 Federal Register is on pace for 77,421 pages. This would be the 6th-largest page count since the Federal Register began publication in 1936.”
43 “economically significant” rules have been published so far this year. This means they’ll cost $100 million or more in a given year.
Among final rules posted to the register are:
- The USDA can no longer use age discrimination when doling out farm subsidies.
- Government contractors and subcontractors also may no longer discriminate by sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Food producers have a deadline of January 1, 2018, to comply with new food labeling regs.
- The FCC established a regulation penalizing phone companies if too many dropped calls in rural areas occur.
The controversial 2014 spending bill did strike at a few government regulations, however, such as rolling back Dodd-Frank banking regulations on derivatives. Known for its vast rule- and regulation-making, the EPA can also no longer mandate farmers to report “greenhouse gas emissions from manure management systems.”
Additionally, The New York Times reports, the bill says the EPA cannot require ranchers to get greenhouse gas permits for “methane emissions” produced by bovine flatulence or belching and requires the agency to withdraw a new rule that defines how the Clean Water Act relates to specific agricultural conservation practices. The Army Corps of Engineers will also not be able to regulate farm ponds and irrigation ditches under the Clean Water Act.
The trucking industry was hit with a regulation last year that required drivers to take two consecutive nights off after every 70 hours they spend on the road driving. Truckers did not like that as it forced more truckers to be on the road early in the morning, when commuters and school buses are also out driving, NPR reports. This regulation was rolled back in the spending bill as well.