A recent report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce analyzes the costs of federal agencies’ rules and finds that the executive branch agency rules are the most costly. Just taking their reported numbers at face value, executive branch agency rules imposed a combined annual compliance cost of more than $1 billion from 2000 through 2013.
And which agency is the worst offender? The EPA.
Of the 30 executive branch rules imposed since 2000, 17 from the EPA have imposed a total compliance cost $90.3 billion. The Chamber also finds that those costs are getting more expensive every year:
While EPA does not finalize billion-dollar rules every year, such rules have been the driver of total costs imposed by the agency. … Further, EPA has been writing more billion-dollar rules, each with greater costs, than ever before. (p. 6)
The EPA is required by Congress to justify the benefit for the costs it imposes, but virtually all of the benefits it claims come from the reduction of a single pollutant, PM2.5, that is typically not the pollutant targeted by EPA rules. Nationwide PM2.5 emissions are also already below the EPA air quality standards set in 2013.
For all the regulatory compliance costs the EPA imposes, it’s not following rules in place from Congress, as the Chamber concludes:
Congress clearly recognized that regulations—particularly environmental regulations—impose significant burdens on businesses and workers and need to be clearly analyzed. For this reason, Congress requires EPA to evaluate potential nationwide losses or shifts in employment because of its regulations. Unfortunately, the agency has never done so. Congress needs to know whether EPA’s rules are causing losses or shifts in employment, especially in areas that have already been hit hard economically. All agencies, including independent regulatory agencies, should be required to analyze employment impacts for high impact rules. (p. 9)
Yes—and until they do, their funding should be frozen, and with it the ability to impose more costly regulations on businesses and taxpayers.