Obama's Regulatory Cliff Draws Near
By Arnold Ahlert
Many Americans believe the biggest problem the nation currently faces is the so-called fiscal cliff. Unfortunately, the fiscal cliff is nothing compared to the avalanche of new regulations that will be coming in 2013. That Americans remain unaware of this ominous development is understandable. The most transparent administration in history ignored the provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act and a subsequent series of executive orders that require the semi-annual release of all regulations under development or review by some 60 departments, agencies, and commissions. Thus, the April 2012 and October 2012 deadlines came and went without compliance. Now that the election is over, Americans will discover just how all-encompassing Obama and his big-government zealots intend to be.
The scope is staggering. According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the overall regulatory burden has reached $1.8 trillion annually, and $215.4 billion in compliance costs have been added in 2012 alone. The OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs website reveals that 4,100 new regulations are in the pipeline, with more than 400 aimed at small businesses, whose compliance costs will exceed those of their larger competitors by 36 percent.
Unsurprisingly, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be taking the lead role in flexing the administration's regulatory muscles. Proposals to significantly expand the Clean Water Act will give the EPA power over virtually every body of water in the nation, including farm ponds, streams, and even storm water runoff, all of which could seriously impact family farmers and small businesses. More restrictive requirements for controlling ozone emissions could cost $90 billion annually and trigger the potential loss of millions of jobs. The designation of coal ash as a "hazardous substance" will substantially increase energy costs, adding another $79 billion to $110 billion to the regulatory tab, and eliminating thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Missouri, and Ohio. A new rule that tightens allowable levels of so-called fine particulate matter will be added to the mix as well, making it far harder for local governments to issue new manufacturing permits.