July 25 2014
$34 Billion in New Regulations under Wraps
Patrice J. Lee
Delaying unpalatable laws and regulations until after elections is a sneaky tactic to avoid political backlash. The Obama Administration did it in 2012 and is set to unleash another $34 billion in major regulations following the 2014 midterms.
The American Action Forum, a watchdog group in Washington, D.C., reviewed the Administration’s spring 2014 agenda and compiled a list of federal rules and found at least 15 major regulations scheduled for release after the upcoming midterms. Just six of these rules combined could impose more than $34 billion in costs.
A significant number of the regulations emanating from the Environmental Protection Agency are in the energy and environmental fields. From limiting carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants to conservation standards for incandescent lights, these rules will institute billions in new fees leading to negative impact across numerous sectors. Unfortunately, they’ll be made public after the elections leaving no time for electoral recourse.
The Daily Caller reports:
“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.”
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.
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.
Does something smells fishy about the timing these delays? It’s the motives behind the delays in unleashing billions in new regulations on American industry.
We saw this strategy in 2012 when the Administration delayed regulations until after the election which the Washington Post confirmed was to avoid controversy before the ballots were cast. That’s purely political and is akin to changing the rules of the game just you realize that you’re losing.
Frankly, it demonstrates cowardice on part of the Administration. If they believe in the rules they are forcing on companies, they should be willing to accept the political blowback that those rules may engender. The President promised a new age of transparency when he moved to Washington, but perhaps transparency of motives seems to fall beyond that purview.
Not only is this the wrong way to govern, there’s a real financial impact from new EPA regulations. Raising the costs of business leads to higher prices for consumers and may reduce the options available on the market as companies shuffle to remain compliant with new rules.
There's a place for regulation. However, too much regulation can place a stranglehold on the operation and expansion of industry which hurts consumers, hurts workers, and hurts the communities that flourish because of the industries in their areas. Our policymakers and regulators in Washington need to be guided by that truth.