Report: ‘Regulatory cliff’ of new regulations could top $100 billion

As Congress debates taxes and spending, a slew of rules and regulations that had been delayed by the Obama administration could potentially be released and cost more than $100 billion, according to a report.

More than 80 percent of “regulatory actions” currently under review by the Obama administration have been held over typical review time and many regulations have been held past their scheduled release dates.

“It is hard to say why this administration has been so slow to publish some rules but not others, though there is plenty to speculate,” Sam Batkins, Director of Regulatory Policy at the American Action Forum and the author of the study, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an email.

Typically regulations are sent to the White House and reviewed for about one to two months, and current law dictates that regulations should not languish at the White House for more than 90 days. However, more than 80 percent of all regulations currently under review by the Obama administration have been there for more than 90 days.

In particular, the White House admits that 84 percent of EPA and 100 percent of new energy regulations have been delayed.

“EPA and DOE have the longest-languishing regulations likely because of cost and political implications,” said Batkins. “The White House learned from their 2011 rejection of ozone standards that cost implications can have major political ramifications.”

“Some of the notable rules currently at the White House include: Boiler MACT, which has been in an out of the courts, and standards for formaldehyde emissions.”

The EPA’s Boiler MACT rule, which aims to reduce hazardous emissions from industrial boilers and process heaters, was set to be released in April of this year and is set to cost $1.5 billion, according to the report.

A recent report by Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe said that the rule could reduce the U.S. economy by 1.2 billion dollars and destroy about 800,000 jobs.

In the pipe, is also a rule for hydraulic fracturing — fracking — on federal lands currently under review that will cost $377 million.

Also, four economically significant energy conservation proposals are in the pipe, according to AAF, but they don’t have any public information on the costs. However, the average cost of other recent conservation rules is $876 million, according to AAF.

“New standards for walk-in freezers, lamps fixtures, refrigeration equipment, and manufactured housing could cost billions of dollars,” Batkins writes in the report.

Delays in reviewing has also caused a “bottleneck” of economically significant regulations — those costing more than $100 million. Currently, there are 25 economically significant rules at the White House and nine of these have been under review since 2011. Dozens of other regulations scheduled for publication in the fall have also been held back, according to AAF.

“One plausible scenario is politics,” writs Batkins. “Many of the pending regulations are controversial, expensive to implement, and could reinforce the perception that the Administration ‘over-regulates.'”