Lawmakers push back against federal regulations
Fri, Mar 17, 2023 12:15 PM
By Merrilee Gasser, The Center Square
U.S. senators from South Dakota and Oklahoma introduced a bill they say would hold the Biden administration and federal agencies accountable when proposing regulations that could impact the economy.
The Regulatory Transparency Act would require a thorough regulatory impact analysis for “economically significant rules.” It would also expand judicial review of “significant rules” to increase objectivity and transparency, the senators said.
U.S. Senators John Thune, R-S.D., and James Lankford, R-Okla., introduced the legislation this week. Both represent states that are no strangers to conflict with the federal government over regulatory policies.
“All too often, federal agencies issue overly burdensome regulations without adequately assessing the impact on consumers and small businesses,” said Thune. “Unfortunately, this lack of transparency has become commonplace in the Biden administration. My legislation would hold government agencies accountable by enforcing rules that require them to analyze the economic impacts of onerous regulations before imposing them on the economy.”
It’s not the first time these states have pushed back against the Biden administration’s regulations and policies.
Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond sued the Environmental Protection Division this week for rejecting the state’s ozone emissions plan.
“This is federal overreach of the first order,” Drummond said in a statement. “Rather than work with Oklahoma to make whatever modifications the EPA claims are necessary to comply with its burdensome regulations, the Biden Administration is seeking a one-size-fits-all federal plan with absolutely no input from Oklahoma or other affected states. The EPA plan places unnecessary and costly burdens on Oklahoma businesses and ignores the expertise of Oklahoma’s Department of Environmental Quality, all at the expense of state sovereignty.”
Last month, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley announced the state joined with 23 others, including Oklahoma, in a lawsuit against the Biden administration’s “Waters of the United States” rules. The regulations redefine the term “navigable waters” to include ponds, specific streams, ditches and other bodies of water, placing them under the Clean Water Act.
“As it states in the lawsuit, this rule would require farmers, developers and other property owners to get permission from the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to use these waterways in most ways,” Jackley said. “That places an undue burden on South Dakotans who would face federal government punishment for even the slightest misuse.”
If passed, the Regulatory Transparency Act would require agencies to justify regulations and consider the impact on all sizes of businesses. It would also require agencies to consider sunset dates, which would set an end date for a new regulation.
“There are thousands of federal regulations that govern every business in the US – which are eventually costs passed on to customers,” said Lankford. “The government should think through the real cost of regulations to the American people.”