The Obama administration will routinely "drop these regulatory agendas late on a Friday and right before a holiday,” admitted Matt Shudtz, executive director of the Center for Progressive Reform. The White House’s regulatory agenda for spring 2014 was released on the eve of the Memorial Day weekend, when millions of people set out on weekend getaways or family vacations.
The Unified Agenda for fall 2014 includes some 3,415 regulations– more than the last regulatory agenda, and one that includes 189 rules that cost more than $100 million. Some of the most contentious Environmental Protection Agency rule sets to be finalized include the so-called coal ash rule for coal-fired power plants. A final rule will be issued by Dec. 19, and could be bad news for the power sector, which will bear the brunt of $20.3 billion in compliance costs. These have been criticized by Republicans and the coal industry for accelerating the demise of coal-fired power and for setting the stage for increases in electricity prices.
But probably the most fought-over rules to be finalized by the EPA next year will be its redefining of the “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. The EPA will issue its redefinition next year, according to the agenda. Federal lawmakers from both parties, along with companies from virtually every sector of the economy, have opposed the rule, saying it greatly expands the EPA’s power to regulate even small bodies of water on private property.
“The ‘waters of the U.S.’ rule may be one of the most significant private property grabs in U.S. history,” said Sen. David Vitter, adding “they want to take another step toward outright permitting authority over virtually any wet area in the country, while at the same time providing a new tool for environmental groups to sue private property owners.”