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White House: EOBR, HOS proposals would cost economy $1 billion or more each annually

The proposed EOBR rulemaking would have an annual economic impact of $2 billion, the White House said in a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner. (The Trucker file photo)

By LYNDON FINNEY
The Trucker Staff

9/2/2011

WASHINGTON — Two proposed Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rulemakings would have more than a $1 billion annual impact on the U.S. economy, the White House said in a letter to Speaker of the House John John Boehner.

The Aug. 30 letter was in response to a request from Boehner, who in an Aug. 26 letter asked the Obama administration to identify for Congress all planned new rules that would have an estimated economic impact of more than $1 billion.

Boehner had asked for more details on the proposed costs of the most expensive regulations under consideration by the administration, which has identified 219 proposed rules this year with a cost to the economy of more than $100 million.

The regulations were identified after the president issued an Executive Order earlier this year that imposes a series of new requirements designed to reduce regulatory burdens and costs.

The seven proposed regulations with an annual economic impact of more than $1 billion included three from the Department of Transportation and four from the Environmental Protection Agency. Friday morning, the president asked the EPA to reconsider on of the four proposed EPA rules on the list — the “Reconsideration of the 2008 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards,” which the White House estimated would have a $19-90 billion annual impact on the economy.

As for the proposed DOT regulations, the White House said the proposed Electronic On-Board Recorders and Hours of Service Supporting Documents rule would have a $2 billion impact on the economy and the proposed Hours of Service rule would have a $1 billion impact.

The other DOT proposal, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 111, Rearview Mirrors, which the administration estimated would have a $0.6 billion-$1.5 billion impact on the economy, the White House said.

Spokespersons for the DOT and FMCSA referred all questions related to the economic impact of the three rules to the Office of Management and Budget.

That proposal would require a new standard on rearview mirrors for all types of vehicles to improve the ability of a driver to detect pedestrians immediately behind his or her vehicle and thereby minimize the likelihood of the vehicle striking a pedestrian. It appears in the near term the only technology available with the ability to comply with the proposal would be a rear visibility system that includes a rear-mounted video camera and an in-vehicle visual display, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it the proposed rulemaking. The rule is in response to a Congressional mandate.

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Obama’s letter comes as the Republican-controlled House prepares to consider legislation that would require congressional approval for any new regulations that would impose a significant cost on industries.

While acknowledging the economic impact of regulations, the White House also pointed to the economic benefits of rulemakings.

“For the 18 major rules promulgated by executive agencies in 2010 that could be quantified, the issuing agencies quantified and monetized both benefits and costs,” a White House spokesperson told The Trucker. “Those 18 rules were estimated to result in a total of $18.8 billion to $86.1 billion in annual benefits and $6.5 billion to $12.5 billion in annual costs.”

In his letter to Boehner, Obama said a government-wide review of rules now on the books produced reform plans from 26 agencies.

“A mere fraction of the initiatives described in the plans will save more than $10 billion over the next five years,” the president wrote, also noting that the costs of final, economically significant rules reviewed by the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs were actually higher in 2007 and 2008 than in the first two years of his administration.

In a response to the president’s letter, Boehner called on the Obama administration to make public the detailed cost estimates for all 219 of the new “economically significant” regulatory actions it has planned.

“The combined cost of the seven new regulatory actions alone could be more than $100 billion, according to the information released by the White House,” Boehner said. “These costs will be felt by the American people in the form of fewer jobs and slower economic growth.  At a time like this, with our economy struggling to create jobs, it’s misguided for the federal government to be imposing so many new rules with such enormous costs, even when some of those rules may be well-intentioned.”

Lyndon Finney of The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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