of Cost/Benefit Analyses
- EPA Rarely Reviews Costs/Benefits Of Existing
Regulations, GAO Says in Report. Daily Environment Report, September
21, 1999, ppA-5-6.
The Environmental Protection Agency does not review the costs
and benefits of its existing regulations often, according to a report released by the
General Accounting Office, despite a presidential order that recommends doing so. Only
five of the 101 "economically significant" regulations promulgated by the agency
between 1981 and 1988 were ever reviewed retrospectively.
According to Executive Order No. 12866, agencies are directed to
prepare cost/benefit analyses for economically significant regulations, and to review
regulations periodically. While the agency agrees that such retrospective reviews could be
valuable, according to the report, it is difficult to get the necessary data from the
regulated community to complete them. An agency response to the report also emphasized
that the number of reviews that could be conducted would necessarily be small unless
Congress provided additional funds for them.
The report recommended that the EPA administrator establish a
plan for conducting the reviews and identifying which regulations should be reviewed. GAO
began the investigation at the request of Rep. Bud Shuster (R-PA) and Sen. Frank
Lautenberg (D-NJ). The report is entitled "Environmental Protection: Assessing the
Impacts of EPA's Regulations Through Retrospective Studies."