By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday praised White House efforts to remove regulations that he sees as an impediment to economic growth, saying the administration had reduced regulatory costs by $23 billion in the year ending Sept. 30.
The White House said it had eliminated regulatory costs totaling $23 billion in the most recent budget year but did not specify how much in societal benefits resulted from those eliminated rules. Regulatory costs are estimates by the administration of the costs for businesses and individuals to comply with mandated rules.
The administration said it had approved 14 new significant regulations and eliminated 57 major regulations in the 2017-2018 budget year.
“We will have rules, regulations, and other standards which we need, we have to have. But we have knocked out tremendous numbers of unnecessary regulations,” Trump said Wednesday at a White House event. “One of the reasons the economy is so strong is that we’re not hampered by the ridiculous regulations.”
The deregulatory actions included rescinding a 2015 hydraulic fracturing rule, eliminating a requirement that farms report emissions produced by animal waste, and withdrawing rules that would require air carriers to disclose some fees even if customers did indicate whether they planned to check a bag.
The new regulations included rules on hurricane assistance for agriculture losses, rules for payments of avian flu indemnity claims, mercury reporting requirements and sewer overflow public disclosures.
Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs at advocacy group Public Citizen, said none of the 14 regulations finalized by the administration “can be credibly described as significantly improving the public’s health and safety or saving lives.”
Gilbert said in a statement that “under the Trump administration, regulators are focused only on boosting corporate profits, not saving lives or protecting the public by holding corporate wrongdoers accountable.”
The biggest regulation under review in dollar terms is a proposal to freeze vehicle fuel-efficiency standards at 2020 levels through 2026, one that would save $340 billion in regulatory costs, but add at least $150 billion in higher fuel costs.
Since 2017, Congress and the Trump administration have rescinded rules on bank oversight and broadband privacy. Regulators are also moving to roll back rules on power plants and wetland pollution.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday that it plans to reverse regulations that set specific content requirements for frozen cherry pies and French salad dressing. The FDA said both changes would “provide food manufacturers with greater flexibility.”
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