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Study: 2014 regs cost $181.5 billion

The Obama administration imposed $181.5 billion in regulatory costs last year, according to an American Action Forum (AAF) report released Tuesday.  

“The year was highlighted by EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, which the administration admitted would raise electricity prices by more than six percent by 2020, not to mention the $8.8 billion price tag,” the center-right policy group said in its report. 

“Amazingly, the CPP was not the most expensive measure in 2014. EPA’s proposed ozone rule, which could force dozens of state and national parks into non-attainment, could impose $15 billion in costs.”

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Proposed and final rules accounted for 79,066 pages of regulation; the Affordable Care Act was among the most expensive, with its provision requiring calorie labels on all restaurant menus and vending machines. 

The rule administered by the Food and Drug Administration carries a $1.6 billion price tag for compliance costs. 

But the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards said the study exaggerates the regulatory costs of 2014 and ignores the benefits of the proposed and final rules.

“Just look at the White House’s new Clean Power Plan to see why it’s wrong to ignore the benefits of safeguards,” said the coalition, which advocated for public protections.

“Cleaning up our nation’s power plants would cost less than $9 billion, but could yield more than $90 billion in future health and environmental benefits — preventing more than 6,000 premature deaths and as many as 150,000 asthma attacks annually.

The coalition said the AAF is a front group for corporate interests headed by Bush administration officials and went on to call its study “misleading.” The coalition claims the AAF included the annual costs of all rules issued in the previous years of the Obama administration in its $181 billion figure. 

“If this report demonstrates anything, it’s that some people know the cost of everything and the value of nothing,” the coalition said. 

The report does say regulators published $143 billion in benefits last year, $13.5 billion coming from the Department of Energy and $122 billion coming from the Environmental Protection Agency.