by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
No, I don’t expect anyone is roaming the hallways at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offices while wearing one of those big foam No. 1 fingers and chanting with pride. But the EPA has set a new record, as documented by Elizabeth Harrington of the Washington Free Beacon.
The Environmental Protection Agency now imposes nearly 200 million hours of paperwork to comply with its regulations, as new rules have skyrocketed under the Obama administration.
A new report released by the American Action Forum, a center-right policy institute, found complying with the agency’s rules now requires 188 million paperwork hours, the equivalent of 95,000 Americans working full time for a year.
“Years of regulatory accumulation, especially under the Obama administration have pushed EPA’s paperwork burden to its highest level in history,” the report, written by Sam Batkins, said. “Year after year of new regulatory costs have not only translated into shuttered power plants, but also new reporting and recordkeeping requirements. EPA’s paperwork burden now stands at 188 million hours.”
“To put this in perspective, it would take more than 94,200 employees working full-time (2,000 hours a year) to complete one year of EPA paperwork,” the report continued. “The agency’s burden has surged 23 percent since 2009 and 34 percent since 2002.”
The report found the EPA’s increase in paperwork burdens is not due to its new major regulations, but to new requirements for regulations already on the books.
“The agency has been busy: the Clean Power Plan, Fuel Efficiency Standards, the Ozone Rule, and Waters of the United States,” the report said. “However, none of these measures imposed especially large reporting and recordkeeping costs; a majority of the burdens were in the form of capital costs.”
“The anatomy of record paperwork is a combination of lesser-known new requirements and massive upward revisions of existing paperwork collections,” the report said.