Ordinarily, the Federal Register — the daily record of rules, proposed rules and notices of the federal government — publishes at 8 a.m. But, as late as 2:45 p.m. ET today, the Register’s website displayed a little red bar across the top of the homepage that read, “Today’s issue is currently unavailable; we apologize for any inconvenience.”Why the delay? It could be holiday fever. It could be just plain ol’ bureaucratic ineptitude. Or it could be that today’s issue of the Federal Register took longer to prepare because it was to include (and ultimately did include) one of the most massive regulations yet proposed under the Obama administration.At the American Action Network, red tape expert Sam Batkins tracks the industry compliance costs and intergovernmental costs (i.e. the cost states must bear thanks to unfunded mandates) of new federal regulation. Year-to-date, the Federal Register has published 72,820 pages, and the estimated cost of the regulations contained in those pages has mounted to more than $93 billion, according to Batkins’ database. That is, by the time all these regulations have been implemented, they will have cost industry and state governments nearly $100 billion.

But, today, the Federal Register published a new regulation on CAFÉ standards that the administration itself has admitted could cost as much as $141 billion in compliance by 2025. Didja get that? This one rule could cost more than all the rest of this year’s rules combined. According to Batkins, the cost of this reg is “exponentially greater” than any that preceded it in 2011 — and more than 10 times as large as the next most expensive rule, an as-yet-unpublished-in-the-Register proposal to cut mercury and other air toxics from power plants, which would cost about $10 billion in compliance.

Another way to measure the enormity of this rule is by the number of pages it occupies in the Register. The record is printed in three columns in about 10-point type — and yet the rule still fills 551 pages.
The magnitude of this regulation — and its many likely negative consequences, including the loss of untold manufacturing jobs and even the loss of lives — underscores the dire need for Congressional oversight of at least the most expensive regulations. For that, I’ll continually recommend Geoff Davis’ REINS Act. Nothing lost by requiring that regulations be approved by elected officials who are accountable to the voting public rather than just by unelected bureaucrats who feel free to trample on the American people because the people have no power over them.