The Obama administration could end up publishing hundreds of new regulations before President-elect Donald Trump moves into the White House in late January.
Federal agencies have 1,019 regulations in their final stage that can be pushed out in the closing weeks of President Barack Obama’s time in office, according to the government’s Fall 2016 Unified Agenda.
“This week’s release of the administration’s Unified Agenda is simply the realization that after more than $800 billion in regulatory burdens, regulators aren’t done,” Sam Batkins, regulatory policy director at the right-leaning American Action Forum, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Agencies are working overtime to publish regulations on industry before the Trump administration can come in and stall the rulemaking process. Regulators have published more than $4 billion in new regulatory burdens this week alone, according to Batkins.
“Expect an uptick in activity through Inauguration Day, with energy and environmental rules leading the way,” Batkins said.
So far, the Obama administration has imposed nearly $860 billion worth of new regulations on the economy since 2009, according to Batkins.
The White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) has averaged publishing 2.2 regulations per day so far, but that number is expected to increase as Obama’s time in office comes to an end.
A July 2016 study by the Regulatory Studies Center at The George Washington University found the number of economically significant rules — those impacting the economy by $100 million or more — increases threefold in the final months of an administration.
But getting all 1,019 final rules published will be a big task. Batkins noted that even if the Obama administration published 20 new regulations a day, he could get 800 rules done before leaving office on Jan. 20.
Many of the rules experts expect the Obama administration to publish in the coming weeks could impose billions of dollars in costs on businesses.
The Department of the Interior’s new rule for flaring natural gas on federal lands, for example, is expected to cost $1.4 billion — that rule should be published soon.
Trump made regulatory reform a major part of his presidential campaign. He said in the past, 70 percent of federal regulations “can go.”
Trump explicitly promised to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s global warming rule for power plants along with other environmental rules impacting the coal industry.
Batkins recently put together a list of 48 major regulations Congress could invalidate under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) totaling more than $42.5 billion in total costs on the economy.
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