Sponsored by NFIB — The Voice of Small Business

Impractical Demands: Regulations That Don’t Stack Up

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A new day brings new absurdities to the regulatory process. Such is the case with the EPA, which seems to consistently push the envelope on regulation.  Its latest rule only reinforces the notion.

Under the Energy Independence and Security Act, gas and diesel refineries are required to mix in set amounts of “cellulosic biofuel,” an organic additive, to their products.  For 2012, the EPA set the bar at 8.65 million gallons.  For refineries, it means they will be penalized if they fail to meet this standard. But here is the interesting part.  Because cellulosic fuel doesn’t exist commercially, supplies aren’t available for purchase, and manufacturers end up getting slapped with penalties.  Ultimately consumers pay more at the pump as a result.

The rule represents how far out of touch regulators in Washington are with main street. It’s indicative of how out of balance the regulatory process is.  Too often agencies implement ill-conceived rules that hurt more than they help. Sadly, the swelling regulatory process has started churning out these rules even faster, with little consideration of making them more effective instead. It’s no wonder complying and keeping up with new complex rules is the single biggest challenge facing small business owners today according to recent Gallup polls.

Voters clearly emphasize how far out of balance out the regulatory process has become. Fortunately, the policy tools and sensible reforms are within reach to forge a smarter, more efficient system. .  

We can all agree, we need to make sensible reforms to the regulatory process to help get the economy back on track.  And we need do that sooner rather than later.