From The Hill
By Ben Goad and Julian Hattem - 10/06/13
The government shutdown has all but turned off the regulatory spigot, reducing the flow of new rules from federal agencies to a trickle.
Regulators and proponents of stronger protections warn that rulemaking delays will jeopardize public safety and health. But some conservatives say the reprieve from red tape is welcome, even if it doesn’t last long.
“We’re very pleased that the Obama administration’s ongoing efforts to wreck the U.S. economy with more and more heavy-handed and colossally expensive regulations has been put on hold,” said Myron Ebell, director of the right-leaning Competitive Enterprise Institute’s energy and environment center.
“By and large, the people writing those regulations and trying to get them promulgated are not in the office,” he said.
Thousands of workers from U.S. regulatory agencies have been sent home indefinitely as Congress tries to reach an agreement on legislation to restart the government. Several agencies are operating with fewer than 10 percent of their usual workforce.
Regulatory activities have fallen by the wayside, as remaining workers must limit their focus to the most crucial functions to protect lives and property.
The effects can already be seen in the Federal Register, where new regulations and draft rules are published daily.
Monday’s edition of the Federal Register — the last one published before the shutdown — clocked in at more than 400 pages and contained 40 rules or proposals for the public to look over, covering everything from fees charged by U.S. Marshals to protecting habitat for sea turtles.
Friday’s edition was less than a third the size, and had just six rules. All but one was from the National Marine Fisheries Service, where workers are allowed to continue writing rules to prevent overfishing.
More than 100 proposed regulations already forwarded to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for approval are also frozen.