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Barrasso: Regulatory overreach smothering economy
Obama review has killed one regulation
By Sen. John Barrasso
The Washington Times
Monday, August 22, 2011
Last year, President Obama promised Americans a recovery summer. This year, he's given us a regulatory summer. He's thrown a giant wet blanket on economic recovery and has given Americans a summer of more burdens, more costs and more rules.
At the beginning of this year, the White House issued an executive order to all agencies to review regulations. The goal was to cut costs and take Washington off the backs of business. The president's order instructed all agencies that all rules "must promote predictability and reduce uncertainty" and "must identify and use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends."
Since that order, more than seven months ago, the administration has repealed only one rule - a rule that effectively treated spilled milk like an oil spill. By contrast, since the start of the year, the administration has proposed more than 340 regulations at a cost of more than $65 billion to job creators. It is important to note that these are only the regulations for which the administration actually conducted an economic analysis. For hundreds more, it has regulated blindly, with no cost or job numbers associated with its rules.
The president said on his recent bus tour that "there is some red tape that needs to be cut, and we should cut it." Yet in just one week in August, two new rules were finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - rules that increased the regulatory burden on job creators by $10 billion.
The first of these two rules is the so-called "transport rule," which purports to regulate emissions from utility companies. Its proposed method is expensive and heavy-handed. The EPA itself admits that the transport rule will cost thousands of jobs and unleash a $2.7 billion burden on the private sector. This rule raises the cost of energy and will make it more expensive to run factories and small businesses.
The second rule is literally unprecedented. It is the first-ever rule released that regulates mileage for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. This is a costly move that adds complexity, and the impact will be broad-based. Regulating these vehicles will affect small businesses, cities and towns that purchase emergency vehicles such as firetrucks and ambulances, and recreational vehicle owners. Everything from delivery vans to full-size pickups to even school busses will be hampered by these new environmental requirements. At a time when building strong, safe vehicles in America should be a priority, these new regulations are making it harder.
Under this rule, consumers will end up paying $1,000 more for every medium- to heavy-duty truck. The total cost of the rule is $8.1 billion. It would be nice if we knew what effect this would have on American jobs. The EPA conveniently forgot to do an analysis of the jobs impact of this rule. A little common sense tells us this means the rule is bad news for already struggling American manufacturing jobs.
Waiting on the horizon is the single most expensive environmental regulation in history: the EPA's ozone rule. It is estimated that it will cost nearly $1 trillion. The administration has temporarily delayed this rule, but it needs to be canceled. Our economy must not take a third strike, a third major rule this summer.
I have introduced, in the Senate, the Employment Impact Act. This common-sense legislation will force Washington always to take into consideration the impacts regulations have on jobs.
While the president tells Americans that he wants to cut red tape, his administration is still churning it out. Now he is planning on proposing yet another jobs plan next month. If he wants to take this issue seriously, part of that plan must scrap his administration's expensive ozone rule. His administration's own analysis shows that unless it cancels this rule, no jobs plan will matter. Instead, no-job zones will spring up all across America.
New regulations and uncertainty continue to take a toll on our economy. America's job creators should not have to suffer through another summer of Washington's job-destroying regulations.
Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming is vice chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.