Requiring Cost-Benefit Analysis of New Environmental Regs a Step in the Right Direction

It is encouraging that members of the newly elected Michigan Legislature are taking action to thwart over-zealous environmental regulations that are killing jobs in Michigan. Rep. Greg MacMaster, R-Kewadin, has introduced House Bill 4044, which seeks to get a handle on the cost of environmental regulation in the state.

HB 4044 would require that the Department of Environmental Quality prepare a cost-benefit analysis and a fiscal analysis of the impact of proposed rules. The proposed legislation would forbid the department from promulgating new rules without preparing such an analysis and providing a copy to the Legislature for review.

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Having spent many years as a state environmental regulator, it always amazed me how the cost of environmental regulation gets scant attention from the agency. While cost-benefit analysis is not a panacea — the Legislature will need a mechanism to independently evaluate the agencies analysis — it is a step in the right direction. A good second step would be to require that all new environmental regulations have a sunset and that existing environmental regulations are periodically reviewed to determine their effectiveness.

Legislators in both the Michigan House and Senate are also preparing resolutions that would request a federal moratorium on the onslaught of new environmental regulations coming out of the Environmental Protection Agency that amount to a war on energy If enacted, these rules will drive up the cost of energy for consumers and kill job creation in Michigan and elsewhere.

In his state of the state address, Gov. Rick Snyder mentioned that regulatory reform is needed in Michigan. It is a hopeful sign that Michigan legislators have heeded that advice and more importantly intend to take the lead in doing something to fix Michigan’s dysfunctional regulatory system.