Posted by | May 28, 2011 13:00 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Lost beneath the headlines this week was an announcement by President Obama’s Administrator of the Office Of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Cass Sunstein (pictured), about the initial results of an effort to review existing regulations that was begun in January.

Examples of agencies’ current work include 70 initiatives at Transportation, 50 reforms at the Health and Human Resources Department, and 12 short-term high-priority projects at EPA. The Treasury Department has a five-year paperless initiative that will save 12 million pounds of paper and $400 million, Sunstein said.

EPA recently decided that that classifying milk as an oil — and thus requiring precautions to prevent oil spills — was an unjustifiable burden on dairy farmers, and so the resulting easing of rules will save industry $1 billion in the next decade. Similarly, EPA determined that gas stations no longer need air pollution recovery systems because modern vehicles do the job, saving upwards of $60 million annually, he said. And the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, he said, will save millions of dollars by eliminating 1.9 million annual hours of redundant employer reporting.

“Many of the [reforms] focus on the small businesses that create jobs,” Sunstein said. “And some are a fundamental rethinking of how things have been done.”

Now in fairness, most of these initiatives were relatively easy decisions.  Some of them (like the EPA one on milk) had been in the works for years.  But, that said, someone had to finish the job and make sure it actually got done.  And as a result, businesses, especially small ones, will save money.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.