Readying the Regulatory Anti-Stimulus

By February 13, 2009Economy, Energy, Global Warming

From OMB Watch, supporters of the expansive regulatory state, an interesting report on the EPA’s handling of proposed Bush Administration regulations (pulled back) and pending proposals for review by the White House, “Climate Change Rules Among Obama’s First.” The conclusion:

Taken along with the decision to reconsider California’s request to regulate vehicle emissions, the Obama EPA is getting off to a fast start on climate change.

Oh boy.

UPDATE (5 p.m.): From Forbes, “No Stimulus for Science,” a plea for rational risk and cost-benefit analysis in regulations by Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist and a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution:

Federal agencies are required by presidential executive order to prepare a regulatory impact assessment in support of any economically significant regulatory action, an important component of which is a benefit-cost analysis. Nevertheless, because politics and special interests (which include regulators themselves) often prevail, all regulations are not created equal. Some serve society–and taxpayers–well, while others are so wrongheaded and costly that they are actually harmful.

The Environmental Protection Agency fares badly in OMB analyses. Of the 30 least cost-effective regulations throughout the government, the EPA had imposed no fewer than 17. For example, the agency’s restrictions on the disposal of land that contains certain wastes prevent 0.59 cancer cases per year–about three cases every five years–and avoid $20 million in property damage, at an annual cost of $194 to $219 million.

From a political standpoint, i.e., achieving the environmentalist agenda, regulations addressing global warming are useful tools because the possible effects of increased greenhouse gas emissions are purely speculative and based on computer models. If we don’t do X, billions will die. So we have to do X, no matter the cost.

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