In 2012, the Obama administration was heavily criticized for delaying major regulations until after the presidential election. A new report by regulatory watchdogs found that the White House may once again be delaying major regulations that are expected to cost a total of $34 billion.
The American Action Forum (AAF) reports that the White house is set to release 15 major regulations, totaling $32 billion in costs, until after the midterm elections. A significant amount of these regulatory costs come from energy and environment regulations emanating from the Environmental Protection Agency, according to AAF.
The most extensive regulation set to be released after the elections is the EPA’s ground-level ozone standard. The regulation does not currently have a price tag associated with it, but when the rule was previously vetoed by the White House in 2011 its cost was put at $90 billion.
The EPA is also expected to finalize its rule limiting carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants by January. This rule would ban the construction of new coal-fired power plants unless they use carbon capture technology. The coal industry and Republicans argue this rule would force the shutdown of more coal plants and coal mines.
“Many of these regulations are controversial, including the GHG [greenhouse gas] rule, and have spent years in the courts and the rulemaking process,” said AAF’s regulatory policy director Sam Batkins, the report’s author. “Regardless of possible motive, if this schedule remains in place, there will be no shortage of major regulations issued immediately after Election Day.”
Another major rule set to hit Americans after the election is the Department of Energy’s new conservation standards for incandescent lamps, which is projected to cost $13 billion over the long term. The rule is expected to cost $863 million per year and raise consumer prices by 40 to 70 percent, according to AAF.
It’s not just the lighting industry that’s expected to get hit with billions in regulatory costs, but the coal industry as well. On top of the costs imposed by EPA carbon dioxide limits, the agency is also hitting the coal industry with a coal ash rule in the wake of coal ash spills into rivers.
The coal ash rule is expected to be released this December and is projected to cost more than $20 billion.
This is not the first time the Obama administration has been criticized for releasing major regulations after an election. Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe hit President Barack Obama in the wake of the 2012 election for holding back major regulations for political reasons.
A report in 2012 by Inhofe’s office details the ways the White House pushed back the publication of major regulations, which could have hurt Democrats in 2012.
“President Obama has spent the past year punting on a slew of job-killing EPA regulations that will destroy millions of American jobs and cause energy prices to skyrocket even more,” Inhofe said in a statement on his 2012 report. “From greenhouse gas regulations to water guidance to the tightening of the ozone standard, the Obama-EPA has delayed the implementation of rule after rule because they don’t want all those pink slips and price spikes to hit until after the election.”
More than a year later, The Washington Post confirmed Inhofe’s claims and reported the Obama administration delayed key environmental and Obamacare regulations until after the 2012 elections.
The Post reported that former administration officials said “the motives behind many of the delays were clearly political, as Obama’s top aides focused on avoiding controversy before his re-election.”
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